No one need tell you that if your passenger vehicle collides with a tractor-trailer on a Texas road or highway, you and your passengers face the highest risk of receiving serious, possibly catastrophic, injuries. This is what makes distracted truck drivers such a danger on the road.

Distracted driving comes in a seemingly unending variety of forms. From cellphone or other device usage to eating or drinking to driving while overly fatigued, all represent activities in which drivers engage when they should be concentrating on the road ahead and behind, as well as their own defensive driving.

Distraction types

As reported by TCI Business Capital, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration places distracted driving into the following three distinct categories

  1. Manual distraction – the driver takes his or her hands off the steering wheel to engage in another activity
  2. Visual distraction– the driver takes his or her eyes off the road to engage in another activity
  3. Cognitive distraction – the driver stops thinking about driving while engaging in another activity

When a tractor-trailer driver subjects himself or herself to any of these distractions, the consequences can be disastrous for you and your passengers. Should (s)he choose to use a cellphone or other electronic device while driving, all three types of distraction come into play at once, putting you and your passengers at even higher risk.

Federal regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates over-the-road truckers and the companies for which they work. Should law enforcement officers observe a driver using any type of hand-held device while driving, the penalty is a maximum $2,700 fine. Should they discover that a trucking company requires its drivers to use such a device, the company faces a maximum $11,000 fine.

Unfortunately, despite the possibility of such stiff fines, many truckers nevertheless persist in using devices, hand-held or otherwise, while driving. In addition, far too many of them drive for longer periods of time than regulations allow. This combination of drowsiness plus attempting to overcome it via talking to others on cellphones or other devices poses a continuing threat to all other motorists, including you. Since you never know exactly what any trucker is doing or how (s)he is doing it while driving, your best strategy when coming up on a tractor-trailer is to give it the widest berth possible while passing and to make sure you do not cut back into your normal driving lane until you clearly see the truck in your rearview mirror.

This is educational information only and not intended to provide legal advice.