In the crowded conditions of many of California’s roadways, drivers are often in close proximity with semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles on a regular basis. Crashes involving these sorts of vehicles generally involve serious injuries and property damage. Unfortunately, distracted driving is fairly common among truck drivers, increasing the chances of an accident and causing the roads to be less safe for everyone on them.
A CBS Los Angeles news article describes one incident of a distracted truck driver and the tragic consequences of the ensuing accident. The truck driver in question hit and killed two girls walking to school while he was watching music videos on his phone. According to the article, statistics show that over 3,000 people died in accidents related to distracted driving in 2017 alone. Some experts believe the number of crashes caused by distracted driving is actually higher.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has tightened restrictions on the use of electronic devices by commercial drivers. Data indicates that the chances of involvement in a crash or other safety-critical event are over 20 times higher for distracted commercial motor vehicle drivers than those who focus on the road. To help prevent distracted driving crashes, FMCSA regulations prohibit all CMV drivers from texting while driving.
The FMCSA rule includes manually typing or reading emails and text messages. The restriction also prohibits CMV drivers from entering text into a personal electronic device in order to access a website. Under the FMCSA’s regulations, drivers may not hold their mobile phones in their hands while making or answering calls. A driver must use a hands-free device or speakerphone function for voice communications. Individuals who violate the FMCSA distracted driving rules may face serious penalties including fines and driver disqualification.