Truck drivers are held to many standards. They have to follow the general rules of the road, and they are also subject to trucking laws and regulations. And as drivers become more reliant on (and addicted to) technology, they face a major risk – distractions. But with trucks weighing up to 80,000 pounds, it’s even more dangerous when truck drivers get distracted and crash. In 2020, 4,965 people were killed in large truck accidents, and 146,930 people were injured.
Fines & Penalties
As of 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released new regulations for truck drivers. The new rules stated that hand-held mobile telephones may not be used while behind the wheel of a CMV (commercial motor vehicle).
The fines and penalties associated with this rule are not small. Drivers caught using a hand-held device can be disqualified as a truck driver, and may need to pay up to $2,750. Additionally, if the trucking company is found to have required or allowed the use of the mobile phone, they can be fined up to $11,000. Multiple infractions by the same driver can end in a disqualification from the FMCSA.
Texting and driving penalties for passenger cars on the other hand differ per state. Most fines average around $250, with some states having no fines, and states like Alaska where texting and driving is a class A misdemeanor; you can spend up to a year in jail and pay up to $10,000 in fines for a first offense.
Who is Liable For My Injuries After a Truck Accident?
If you were involved in an accident with a commercial truck, whether in a passenger car, on a motorcycle, or as a pedestrian, you probably sustained serious injuries. Trucks are extremely dangerous when involved in an accident due to their size and weight. Fortunately, your injuries will most likely be covered by insurance, it just depends whose. A personal injury lawyer will investigate and determine whether the trucking company or a third party is responsible for the crash.
Usually, when a truck driver gets into an accident, the trucking company takes on liability, assuming the driver was behaving within the scope of the job. If the truck driver was behaving recklessly, such as drinking or texting, they could be held personally liable for the accident. However, if it’s revealed that the trucking company was pushing their drivers to meet unreasonable deadlines, it could fall back on the company. Ultimately determining liability for trucking accidents can be complex and is best handled by an experienced truck accident lawyer.