Massive commercial trucks pose serious risk to everyone in passenger vehicles. The immense discrepancy in weight and size between a commercial truck and the typical car, truck or SUV on the road leaves those in the smaller vehicle at increased risk. Many times, the large 18-wheelers or semi trucks completely destroy the passenger vehicles they collide with, severely injuring or even killing the people inside.

In order to reduce the threat to the people on the road, there are special rules, laws and requirements in place governing commercial driving. These laws, like those requiring extra driver education for commercial drivers, should reduce collisions. Sadly, truck drivers, like others on the road, can choose to violate the law. One that gets broken far too often is the law against texting and driving.

Federal regulations are clear about commercial drivers texting

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict rules in place to limit the use of mobile phones by commercial drivers. Under this policy, many activities wind up classified as texting. They includes reading or sending SMS texts, instant messages or emails, accessing a web page, pressing more than one button to place or end a call and any other form of text reading or entry.

Drivers who break this rule could face fines of up to $2,750, and employers who allow or require drivers to use handheld devices face a fine of up to $11,000. Multiple convictions for this offense can result in a driver being disqualified from holding a commercial license. That is in addition to potential state penalties for breaking individual state law.

Why is texting while driving so dangerous?

It’s a well-documented fact: distracted driving keeps someone from fully focusing on the road. A commercial driver who takes his or her eyes off the road to text is more than 23 times as likely to experience a safety-critical event, such as a crash.

Studies show that people often take their eyes off the road for between four and five seconds when texting. If they’re traveling at 55 miles per hour, they will travel the length of a football field without looking at the road. Given how long it takes to stop a large, fast-moving truck, it’s simple to see how traveling that distance without looking at the road could easily result in a devastating crash.

Commercial drivers who break the law should be held accountable

If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a collision caused by a distracted trucker, you should can take action to hold the driver and the trucking company accountable, as well as secure the compensation you need for medical expenses and other costs resulting from the collision.

For more on that, please see our Texas truck accident overview.