Truck drivers who text while driving are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a “safety-critical” event, e.g., crash, near-crash, lane deviation, etc. than drivers who refrain from texting, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
As such, the FMCSA, the agency that regulates the trucking industry, provides detailed cell phone policy for truck drivers. When a driver violates the rules and subsequently causes a crash, the victim (or family) can file a claim to recover damages so long as they can prove the violation.
FMCSA Mobile Phone Use Rules
The federal rules regarding cellphone use for commercial truck drivers is simple and straightforward: truckers are banned from using any type of handheld device while operating their rigs. They are permitted to use voice-activated functions and one-touch features to initiate, answer, or terminate a call, but they cannot hold the phone or press more than one button.
They are also prohibited from texting while driving or doing any of the following activities on their device.
- Reading texts or sending texts
- Instant messaging
- Accessing a webpage
“In short, the rule prohibits unsafely reaching for a device, holding a mobile phone, or pressing multiple buttons,” provides the FMCSA.
How to Prove a Truck Driver’s Violation Caused Your Accident
Using a cell phone while driving a truck constitutes negligence. In order to file and win a truck accident claim, you’ll need to be able to show that the driver was negligent (using a phone) and that the negligence is what caused your truck accident.
Proving this can be a tricky task. Your lawyer can help you collect evidence to support your case. S/he can send a letter of spoliation to the truck company to preserve evidence and/or subpoena the driver’s phone records. The records will indicate if the phone was in use at the time of the accident.
In some cases, you might be able to use the following to prove your claim.
- Eyewitness testimonies
- The truck driver’s cab cam footage
- Accident reconstructionists
Taking the First Step to Recover Your Damages
The first thing you’ll want to do is consult a truck accident attorney in your area who can review your injury or wrongful death case and get to work on proving your claim. It’s important to act quickly because 1) there’s a time limit on when you can file a claim, and 2) truck companies tend to “lose” evidence if they don’t quickly receive a letter of spoliation. Also, the sooner you file a claim, the sooner you can receive your much-needed settlement check.
For help in Washington, call truck accident lawyer Max Meyers today at 425-399-7000 for a free consultation or fill out our contact form.