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The dangers of distracted truck driving in Missouri

Truck accidents can be very scary for all involved because of the size of the trucks and the rate of speed at which the accidents can occur. Truck drivers are not immune to making mistakes when behind the wheel. They are also susceptible to driving distracted, just like everyone else in cars, buses, motorcycles and SUVs.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration prohibits truck drivers from using a handheld device while driving a commercial vehicle for interstate commerce. This includes texting while driving. Truck drivers who are caught using a handheld device or texting while driving face a myriad of penalties. These include fines and being taken off the road.

The rules set forth by the FMCSA do not cover dispatching equipment, so long as it is used for company purposes and not to send or receive text messages. According to research from the FMCSA, commercial drivers who text behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to get involved in a critical accident compared to those who do not text and drive.

Distracted truck drivers can cause serious accidents on the roads of Missouri. These accidents can lead to injury and even death of the truck driver, other drivers, pedestrians and passengers in other vehicles.

The FMCSA can fine a driver up to $2,750 for a first offense. Any driver found to be a repeat offender will be suspended from operating a truck for 120 days. The employer of the truck driver could face a fine of $11,000 if they knowingly allow their drivers to use handheld devices for texting or other calls while driving.

Distracted truck driving does not involve just the use of a handheld device. It also includes eating, drinking, shaving, applying makeup, reading a newspaper/magazine and changing the radio stations while behind the wheel. A truck driver who texts while driving takes their eyes off the road for an average of 3.8 to 4.6 seconds, which can account for 300 yards of travel when going 55 MPH.

An experienced personal injury attorney in Columbia, Missouri, will be able to explain your rights in a truck accident case.

Source: Trucking Truth, "Distracted Driving For Truck Drivers: The Penalties And Risks," Brett Aquila, accessed Feb. 21, 2017

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