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Distracted Semi Drivers Cause Catastrophic Accidents

Car Accidents Involving Distracted Semitruck Drivers

Every year in the United States, roughly 4,000 people are killed in accidents involving massive semitrucks, and upward of 75,000 people are injured in collisions with semis, and often seriously so. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration undertook an extensive study to identify the most common causes of accidents caused by semitrucks on U.S. roadways. On the list of the top five underlying causes of semi accidents is distracted big-rig operators.

Most Common Semi Driver Distractions Associated With Accidents

As noted, distracted rig operators represent one of the more commonplace underlying reasons for an automobile collision. The types of truck driver distractions that are most frequently associated with these types of accidents include:
  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Using a navigation device
  • Manipulating an audio device
  • Talking to a passenger

Technology Used to Combat Semi Driver Fatigue and Inattention

With the significant number of accidents that arise from distracted or fatigued semitruck drivers, some trucking companies have taken steps to employ technology in hopes of reducing these incidents. A slowly growing number of semis have cameras installed facing the driver. Some of these devices are designed to sound an alarm if installed software detects fatigue based on eyelid movement or the driver engaging in some type of distracting conduct. Other systems are designed to permit random monitoring of a driver with the hopes that he or she will remain attentive to the task at hand. Some trucking companies have balked at these devices because they also make a digital recording of what is going on in the cab of a truck. In the end, the last thing these companies want is evidence of distraction, fatigue, or some other potentially hazardous situation associated with the driving of a big rig. There is also growing evidence that rig operators are finding ways to manipulate the operation of these cameras. In many instances, trucking companies are not detecting this conduct by their operators or even bothering to follow up to ascertain if the cameras are functional.

Who Is Responsible for a Distracted Rig Operator-Caused Accident?

An important question that arises when an automobile accident appears to be caused by an inattentive semi driver is which parties potentially might be responsible for the incident. Liability or responsibility is determined based on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. The distracted semi driver obviously is a responsible party. However, that individual usually is not alone. The only time when a driver alone is going to be the sole responsible party is if he or she is an owner-operator. Otherwise, at a minimum, in a distracted operator situation, the trucking company will also be a responsible party. A trucking company generally is responsible for the consequences of the conduct of one of its operators during the regular course of business.

Multiple Factors Contributing to a Semitruck Accident

Often, a semi accident is something of a proverbial "perfect storm." This means that multiple factors can contribute to a collision, including a distracted driver. A relatively common scenario is one in which a mechanical breakdown occurs while a rig is running on the highway. At the moment this occurs, the driver is distracted by something or another. Had the operator not been distracted at the moment, he or she would have been able to quickly and deftly respond to the immediate consequences of the mechanical failure. However, because the driver was distracted, the combination of the mechanical breakdown and the driver distraction results in a truck accident.

Hire an Experienced, Tenacious Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an accident caused by a big-rig operator, you can best protect your legal rights and interests by retaining the services of a Philadelphia car accident lawyer, like a member of the legal team at Metzger & Kleiner. You can schedule an initial consultation with an attorney any time by calling (215) 567-6616. There is no charge for an initial consultation.

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