Modern technology has made it easier than ever to access information, obtain
directions, preview photos, and keep up with your friends and family.
For truckers, these smartphones have become an important window into the
life they’ve left behind each week. After all, some truckers are
gone from their families 2-3 weeks at a time and for months out of the
year. Yet when truckers use smartphones while driving—the results
are often catastrophic.
Recently, an investigation by ABC station WABC in New York City revealed
an alarming trend. Truck drivers were
caught on camera texting while driving their large big rigs in traffic on major highways
running through New York. They were engaged in actively texting, dialing,
and talking on their phones—all while operating an 80,000 pound
piece of machinery. The worst case that was captured on film was a truck
driver who carried on conversations on two separate phones while driving.
If these truckers are caught using their smartphones while driving, the
result is a simple fine and points on their driver’s license. This
leaves many people wondering if the penalties are strict enough. Is a
fine really a deterrent for using your phone? According to the WABC video
investigation—the answer is a resounding NO.
Last year nearly 16,000 truckers received tickets for using their cell
phones while driving, but only 4 were suspended as a result. Last summer,
Florida passed a highway safety bill (HB 7125) that banned truckers and
other commercial vehicle operators, like bus drivers, from texting and
driving or talking on their cellphones without a hands-free device. This
brought Florida law into compliance with federal regulations and both
drivers and their companies will now face penalties for violations of
This law was introduced in Florida shortly after a 45-year-old truck driver
was accused of using his cellphone while speeding at 80 mph in Kentucky,
fatal accident, and killing 10 people who were on their way to a wedding. His truck crossed
the median and slammed into the wedding party, killing all occupants.
Florida’s law would now fine drivers who were caught using their
cell phones $500 for the first and second violations. Their trucking companies
would be fined $2750. For the third violation, truck drivers would be
fined $2750 and a 120-day license suspension, while their companies would
be forced to pay $11,000 in fines.
While this is a step in the right direction, truckers who use their cellphones
while driving put everyone on the road at risk—and sometimes we
don’t get a second chance. In fact, research conducted by the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMSCA) found that truckers who text
behind the wheel were 23.3 times more likely to experience a crash, near-crash,
or lane crossover—and this could result in deadly consequences for
Florida vehicle drivers nearby.
Hurt By a Distracted Truck Driver? Call Us for Help.
If you or someone you love was injured in a
trucking accident, you need a Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorney on your side. To learn
more about your legal options, call us at (954) 522-6601 for a free consultation.