Schmitt Law Firm, LLC

Truck drivers need to avoid distracted driving

The busy roads of Kansas City, Missouri, have their fair share of traffic accidents. Those include truck accidents, which often happen because of distracted driving. For that reason, truck drivers should know some important information about distracted driving and the government's increasingly strong crackdown on it.

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, both hand-held mobile phone use and texting are prohibited while driving a commercial motor vehicle that is used in interstate commerce. Drivers who are caught doing either may be subjected to fines of up to $2,750 or disqualification and being put out-of-service for a period of up to 120 days, with corresponding loss of income. The drivers' employers Safety Measure System (SMS) ratings will be adversely affected by driver infractions, and the employers will express their unhappiness about that to the drivers.

The rule in this regard does not apply to any device that is used for dispatching, is a part of the fleet management system of your company and is not used for texting. The reason for the rule is that research shows that drivers who text and drive or dial mobile phones and drive are many times more likely than those who do not to be involved in events that jeopardize their safety and the safety of those around them. That should incentivize truck drivers to avoid distracted driving, in order to protect their safety and the safety of those around them, even more than the threat of penalties.

Drivers do have the option of using hands-free devices instead of hand-held devices. In the 21st century, an array of commands for communication and information retrieval can be given simply by talking to a device like a smartphone or tablet, rendering hands-free devices viable alternatives to hand-held devices for all purposes. Still, even when talking, drivers need to make sure that their attention is on their vehicle, the road and others around them. That is the only way to stay safe.

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.