Distracted driving has been a serious problem for the past several years, and one of the biggest culprits is texting or otherwise using a cell phone or mobile electronic device while behind the wheel. When a driver looks at a phone screen or types out a message, they lose vital seconds of attention to the road, during which an accident can occur.
Distracted driving is especially dangerous among drivers of large commercial trucks. Not only does it take longer to make adjustments or come to a stop when driving a truck, but if a truck accident does occur, the size and weight of the vehicle often causes severe injuries. Federal regulations and state laws are in place to deter cell phone use among truck drivers, and this can help your case for compensation if you are injured in an accident.
Illinois law is fairly strict when it comes to cell phone use among drivers of any kind. A person who is found to be using a handheld phone while operating a moving vehicle on the road can be fined at least $75, and they can face misdemeanor or felony charges if they cause great bodily harm or death.
The law is even more strict for drivers of commercial motor vehicles, who are prohibited from texting and handheld phone use both while in motion and when stopped at a traffic sign or signal. In addition to fines and penalties under Illinois state law, truck drivers who violate these rules can also be subject to serious penalties from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), including additional fines and disqualification of their commercial driver’s license.
Distracted driving is an example of negligence, meaning a breach in a driver’s duty of care to others on the road. If it leads to an accident, anyone who is injured may have a claim for compensation for damages from the negligent truck driver. Evidence in the form of police reports, phone records, and video footage of the collision can help to establish that the driver was using a handheld phone at the time.
Based on both Illinois law and FMCSA regulations, trucking companies may also be liable for accidents involving texting or handheld cell phone use if they require or allow their drivers to engage in this dangerous behavior. An attorney may be able to help injury victims establish a pattern of negligence on the part of a trucking company by obtaining records of communications and past accidents.
If you were injured in a truck crash, the lawyers at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices can help you determine whether distracted driving was a contributing factor. If so, we will work to hold all negligent parties accountable through a fair settlement or trial verdict. For a free consultation, contact our Lombard, IL personal injury attorneys today at 630-932-9100.
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