When it comes to truck accidents
in Arkansas and the U.S., distracted driving is a serious problem. According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(FMCSA), the government agency responsible for monitoring truck drivers nationwide, distraction was a factor for 5.3 percent of truck drivers involved in fatal truck crashes in 2018.
This means that the distracted driving of 252 truck drivers led to fatal crashes in 2018. It also means that distracted driving was the second-leading cause of fatal truck crashes that year.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident caused by a distracted truck driver, Paul Pfeifer
and the rest of the team at the Pfeifer Law Firm want to help. Pfeifer is a Little Rock native who’s dedicated his practice to helping truck accident victims rebuild their lives.
He’s received widespread recognition for providing high-quality legal counsel, including an AV Preeminent rating
from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating the agency offers. Get a free initial consultation today by calling 501-374-4440 or visiting our contact page
Dangers of Distracted Driving
There are three main ways in which distracted driving is dangerous for truck drivers and others around them:
- Drivers take their hands off the steering wheel. When a truck driver takes one or both hands off the wheel to take a drink, eat a snack, change the radio station, etc., they are unable to react as quickly in the event of a sudden hazard. This is particularly dangerous for truck drivers because trucks require a lot more handling and room to stop or maneuver safely due to their increased size and weight.
- Drivers take their eyes off the road. A truck driver who’s looking at their phone, a navigation device, or other distraction will be unable to see a sudden hazard in their path. If they can’t see a potential emergency unfolding in front of them, they can’t react in time, and the likely result is an accident.
- Drivers’ concentration is disrupted. Because of how big and heavy they are, trucks are much harder to maneuver safely than even the largest SUVs. This means truck drivers need to be extra careful when handling these vehicles to make sure they don’t hurt themselves or others. If the truck driver is daydreaming, talking on the phone, or otherwise engaged with something that isn’t the act of driving, they’ll be slower to react to oncoming hazards.
How Distracted Driving Accidents Occur
Here are a few of the most common causes of distracted driving accidents among truck drivers:
- Talking on the phone – Talking on the phone takes a truck driver’s concentration away from the task at hand, and it requires the use of at least one hand unless the driver has a hands-free system. Even if they can see the road in front of them, their focus is elsewhere, making it that much harder to avoid causing a crash.
- Texting while driving – Texting while driving is an example of all three of the major types of distractions: A driver’s hands are off the wheel, they’re focusing on something other than driving, and they can’t see the road in front of them. Because of these factors, texting while driving is one of the most common ways in which truck drivers cause distracted driving accidents.
- Adjusting the radio or music – Generally speaking, changing the music inside a truck’s cab requires the use of at least one hand, and the truck driver is concentrating on the music instead of driving.
- Eating or drinking while moving – Sipping a drink or eating a snack on the road requires the use of at least one hand, and the driver may need to look away from the road for a few seconds to grab whatever it is they’re eating or drinking. An accident can easily occur during those few seconds while the driver is distracted.
- Screens inside the cab – Most truck drivers have navigation systems inside the cab to help them get where they need to go. These devices can be useful, but they can also be dangerous if the truck driver spends too much time looking at them instead of keeping an eye on the road.
Compensation for Distracted Driving Accidents
If you’re involved in an accident with a distracted truck driver, Arkansas law allows you to pursue compensation from the driver, their employer, and other liable parties for your losses. These include:
- Any missed income from work due to your injuries
- Your medical bills stemming from the accident
- Your diminished ability to work due to your injuries
- Your damaged personal property
- Your pain and suffering
- Your mental anguish
There are two other things to know about obtaining compensation after a distracted driving truck accident. The first is you have a limited time to act, as the statute of limitations says you only have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, so it’s important to act quickly. The second is you can obtain compensation for your injuries even if you were partially responsible for causing a crash, as long as you do not bear the majority of the responsibility for the accident.
How to Prove a Truck Driver Was Distracted
It can be a challenge to prove a truck driver was distracted at the time of an accident. Here are some types of evidence that a truck accident lawyer can use to build your case:
- Data from the truck’s electronic data recorder
- Data from the truck driver’s cellphone
- Looking at the driver’s social media accounts to see if they made any posts leading up to the crash
- Data from police accident reports
- Eyewitness accounts from third-party witnesses
- Footage from traffic cameras or other surveillance equipment
How We Can Help
Our team knows the toll a truck accident can take on your body, mental well-being, and personal finances. We want to get you the compensation you deserve so you can rebuild your life after this challenging experience. To that end, we can:
- Help you find the evidence you need to get full compensation for your injuries
- Handle all the paperwork and negotiations with the various liable parties to get you a reasonable settlement
- Represent you at various court appearances, including at trial if a civil suit becomes necessary
Though the three-year statute of limitations seems like a long time, it’s important to act quickly after a truck accident to make sure any essential evidence isn’t hidden, destroyed, or lost. Get your free case review by calling Pfeifer Law Firm at 501-374-4440 or visiting our contact page