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Federal ban on cellphones often ignored by truckers


Wrecks caused by truck drivers represent an increasing problem in Tennessee and throughout the United States - a trend that may continue as economic recovery leads to more goods shipped by trucks on American roads. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that, on an annual basis, more than 100,000 people sustain injuries in truck Wrecks. Beyond this high injury rate, each year truck Wrecks result in nearly 4,000 deaths.

Cellphones and distraction

Distractions to truck drivers, such as cellphones, diminish their capacity to operate trucks carefully. Due to the potential hazard posed by using cellphones while operating trucks, the FMCSA issued a federal ban on handheld cellphones in November, 2011. Commercial truckers and their employers are subject to financial penalties designed to deter the devastation that can result from distracted driving, but recent Wrecks in other parts of the nation indicate that truckers are not paying attention.

Cellphone use can be deadly

To illustrate the problem, in May, the Huffington Post reported that a truck driver in Arizona was allegedly viewing various social media and pornographic websites on his cell phone when his truck crashed into three police cars. One of the police cars with which the truck collided contained a police officer writing a report, who died from injuries sustained in the crash. The trucker pled not guilty to counts of second-degree murder, endangerment and criminal damage, but video evidence of the evidence shows his cell phone flying out of his hand when the Wreck occurs, indicating his distraction.

Another example happened in June, when a truck driver in New Jersey was using his cell phone while driving, according to NJ.com. Distracted from the road, the trucker failed to slow down in time and crashed into the car immediately in front of his truck, which caused five successive collisions in front of the original incident. One driver caught in the middle of the sequence of violent crashes was killed, prompting officials to charge the truck driver with vehicular homicide. In addition, the trucker was cited for improper use of a cellular phone.

Seeking legal compensation

Victims of truck Wrecks who survive often face a lifetime of challenges as they try to move forward with their lives. They may struggle with permanent disfigurement, disability and other serious conditions. For the families of victims killed by negligent truckers, they face the loss of income and must deal with the psychological and mental pain of losing a loved one. While seeking legal compensation cannot wholly undue the damage, it can hold truckers civilly responsible for their actions.

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