Cases of Fatal Truck Collisions Due To Distracted Driving

Strong Tie Insurance October 1, 2019 StrongtieInsurance

Semi-trucks are much more massive than other vehicles, and additional weight can make it challenging to maintain control on the road. This extra weight can also result in serious injuries, substantial damage, or even death. Accidents involving commercial trucks have the potential to be very dangerous. 

Because of the high levels of risk associated while on the road, having substantial commercial truck insurance can make the difference between the success and failure of your business. Proper insurance comes with experts who know how to handle potentially deadly situations and will be there for you if the worst happens.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving. While there are many causes of accidents, distracted driving is one of the biggest killers on the road. According to DistractedDriving.gov, a part of the United States Department of Transportation reports 3,166 lives lost due to distracted driving in 2017 alone.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCS), distracted truck drivers are 23 times more likely to cause a crash. While many distracting habits are banned for truckers, drivers are often tempted to focus on things other than the road. Some of the biggest distractors are:

  • Texting
  • Reading texts
  • Making phone calls
  • Answering phone calls
  • Checking email or using an instant messaging service
  • Looking up web pages
  • Using a portable DVD player, tablet, or laptop
  • Eating and drinking
  • Looking at a map
  • Smoking
  • Reading books, newspapers, magazines, or work-related paperwork

Most Common Injuries From Accidents Involving Trucks

1. Head Injuries

Severe head injuries can occur when the driver or passenger hits his or her head against an interior part of the car. While some of these injuries may be mild, they can also be life-threatening. A doctor should always evaluate head injuries because the results of the accident are not always apparent immediately after it happens.

2. Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries

Just as head injuries aren’t always apparent after an accident, neck and spinal cord injuries might not be evident right away either. If damage from the crash goes all the way down to the bone, muscles, or the spinal cord, paralysis can occur. 

Even small amounts of pain can result in the inability to return to work for days, months, or years. At the worst end of the spectrum, spinal injuries can result in paralysis or death.

3. Internal Injuries

Truck accidents can cause damage to the lungs, liver, heart, spleen, kidneys, or other organs. There might also be broken bones, dislocated joints, or internal bleeding. Fractures and broken bones can cause additional damage to organs. These internal injuries, like punctured lungs, can be life-threatening.

4. Burns

While the majority of truck-related injuries are caused by the impact, there is also the potential for fires and burns. Semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles have large fuel tanks. Since it doesn’t take much for fuel to ignite, fires are a real possibility during an accident, especially if fuel spills. The resulting fire can result in severe burns, explosions, or death.

5. Psychological Injuries

Trucking accidents can cause other types of harm than physical; they can also cause psychological damage. Survivors of these accidents can develop something akin to PTSD. After physical injuries heal, mental injuries can remain. These drivers may find getting behind the wheel again challenging. 

While psychological injuries may not always lead to death, any time a person’s brain is altered, there are high risks. Those who survive these significant accidents should consider seeking psychological care.

How to Prove Distracted Driving Caused Your Accident

If you or a loved one is involved in a truck accident, you might need to prove that the other driver was distracted. Your insurance provider should help with your case. Most commercial truck insurance companies will look for the following kinds of evidence:

Police Report. The police report may not always be admissible in court, but the officer’s statement can help. This report can be especially persuasive in negotiating with the other party’s insurance company.

Citation. If the other party was issued a ticket for any distracted driving violation, such as texting and driving, this could help prove that the accident wasn’t your fault.

Cell Phone Records. Cell phone records can show if the other person was talking or texting at the time of the accident.

Witness Statements. If there were neutral parties who witnessed the crash, their comments could help prove what happened. Make sure to gather contact information from anyone who witnessed the event so that your trucking insurance company or lawyer can collect their stories.

Surveillance Tapes. Nearby homes or businesses may have cameras that recorded the crash. 

Accident Reconstruction Expert. When the events of an accident are disputed, you can hire an expert who will reenact the sequence of events to confirm what happened.

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Avoid Distracted Driving

You may not be able to control how other people drive. Of course, you should always be vigilant on the road. You can also do your part to limit distractions for yourself.

  1. Cell Phones

Cell phones should only be used for emergencies. It’s best to pull over onto the shoulder or into a parking lot before using your phone. Texting while driving, even at a red light, is never a good idea as it takes your eyes off of the road. Also, using hands-free devices can cause distractions.

  1. Eating and Drinking

Anything that takes your attention away from the road can be dangerous. Being busy, running late, or missing a meal is no excuse to take unnecessary risks. One of the biggest causes of distractions happens after food or drink is spilled. Our natural reaction is to clean up or protect our clothing which can put us in a risky situation. 

  1. Multi-tasking

If you spend a great deal of time in your vehicle, you might try to accomplish other tasks on the road. Playing with the GPS, reading emails, or having conversations can result in a dangerous driving environment. Always make sure to focus on the road and not other tasks.

People are limited in the amount of information they can process in a single moment. Driving requires keeping the focus where it belongs: on the road. Accidents involving trucks have much higher risks of being fatal, especially if drivers are distracted. Many states are cracking down on distractions while driving. Stay safe and stay focused. 

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