Like the rest of the nation, Illinois is full of truck drivers delivering important goods to stores, transferring construction equipment, and providing other various, necessary services. When truckers become distracted, they place everyone around them in jeopardy because their large vehicles and heavy loads have a greater chance of causing serious injuries and damage to other vehicles and their motorists in the event they are involved in an accident.
Distracted driving defined
According to distraction.gov, distracted driving includes any and all activities that can divert someone’s attention away from their driving. This includes the following activities:
- Texting and taking photos
- Using a smartphone or cell phone
- Reading maps or other material
- Adjusting a radio or other audio player
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
Any type of distraction can be dangerous, but those that take the visual, manual and cognitive attention of the driver off the road, such as texting, taking photos and using a smartphone, are the most dangerous. These dangers are only amplified when a trucker is the one who is distracted.
Deadly in a moment
A Chesapeake Bay Bridge accident recently demonstrated how quickly a distracted trucker can cause a life-threatening truck accident. The Baltimore Sun reports that a woman was traveling over the bridge in her sedan when a trucker became distracted by lights in his rear view mirror and failed to notice that traffic had significantly slowed in front of him. The trucker was unable to avoid the woman’s car, which was first pushed into the vehicle ahead of her and then up and over the side of the bridge. She escaped the vehicle and swam to safety.
Since distracted truckers have the potential to cause so much harm, certain laws have been enacted in Illinois. In 2013, new laws went into effect banning the use of all hand-held cell phones for those operating commercial vehicles. Drivers may continue to talk on the phone as long as they have a hands-free device to assist the call. Another part of the new code prohibits texting of any kind for CDL holders, whether their trucks are moving or temporarily stopped. Any violation would be considered a serious traffic violation, and truckers with two or more of these within 3 years will lose their license for 60 days or more. Emergency contact with authorities is the only exception to the ban.
Truck drivers should be keenly aware of how to prevent distracted driving. Those who have been injured by a distracted trucker can visit with a Chicago attorney to learn their rights regarding compensation for their injuries.