Truck Accidents and Cell Phone Use
Commercial Truck Drivers Put MD Motorists at Risk Because of Cell Phone Use
Our Law Firm Holds Negligent Truck Drivers and Companies Accountable for Accidents in Baltimore
Using a cell phone while driving can be extremely dangerous. If the vehicle is a heavy commercial truck, the hazard is compounded exponentially. The Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. guide automobile crash victims through the process of recovering compensation. Our lawyers investigate whether a truck driver was using a cell phone or texting at the time and caused your traffic accident. Because it is also a violation of federal laws, the very act of using a handheld device demonstrates the driver’s fault.
Mobile Telephone Rule
The U.S. Department of Transportation took a bold action against distracted driving by banning the use of handheld cell phones by interstate truck and bus drivers while operating large vehicles. The mobile telephone rule was created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to protect other motorists from the risk of deadly tractor-trailer accidents.
Effective as of January 3, 2012, the law allows commercial vehicle drivers to speak on hands-free equipment in a safe manner. This means using equipment that does not entail taking eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or attention away from operating the commercial truck or bus. The driver is permitted to use a push-to-talk device that can be reached from a normal seated position with the seatbelt fastened. Dialing, holding or reaching for the phone is not allowed.
Consequences of Violating the Handheld Cell Phone Use Ban
In addition to the risks of causing an accident, a driver faces a federal civil penalty of up to $2,750 for a single offense. Multiple violations can result in disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle on the federal level and suspension of the driver’s commercial driver license (CDL) by the state. The company the driver works for may be fined up to $11,000 for each violation.
Texting and Driving Prohibitions for Big-Rig Drivers
Federal regulations also prohibit texting and driving by commercial vehicle drivers. In September 2010, the FMCSA passed its rules forbidding commercial truck and bus operators to type, transmit or read text messages while driving. The PHMSA implemented a companion policy in February 2011 forbidding texting by intrastate hazardous materials drivers.
Responsibilities of Trucking Corporations
Employers are responsible for their drivers’ actions while performing job duties — a legal concept called respondeat superior. Motor carriers may be held civilly liable for creating an environment that tolerates or encourages irresponsible driving conduct, such as driving while fatigued, drinking, taking drugs, speeding, and texting or talking on the phone.
Contact the Trucking Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton to Hold the Truck Driver Responsible for Distracted Driving that Caused your Injuries
To learn more about laws against truck and bus drivers’ use of handheld devices, call LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact our firm online. Your first consultation is free. Our Baltimore personal injury lawyers are available by phone 24 hours a day to assist auto accident victims and their loved ones with auto accident claims, which we handle on a contingency basis. We consider your satisfaction our primary concern.