Trucking accidents are among the most dangerous accidents on Georgia’s highways. A week doesn’t go by without a major accident on one of our roadways. Often these truck accidents involve serious injuries to Atlanta area residents — the victims of tractor-trailer crashes that I represent as an Atlanta trucking accident lawyer.
So it is a welcome development that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is taking a heavy hand with truckers who use cell phones while driving. Last week they endorsed a ban on the use of cell phones for truckers. This would mean that truckers, along with other commercial drivers, could be prohibited from texting or talking on the phone while driving.
The NTSB does not want truckers to have access to hands-free devices either. This is similar to recommendations made for those responsible for ships and planes. Although the NTSB is aware that this will not be a popular move, it is important for the safety of everyone on the road.
The NTSB endorsed the ban, after a hearing in which the agency determined that a driver talking on his cell phone caused a horrific head-on truck crash last year. Eleven people died in the accident which occurred in Kentucky in 2010.
This is basic safety. The data is absolutely clear that driving while distracted can lead to disaster. Many studies have shown this. Trucks are heavy and cannot stop quickly. The time it takes to stop is a serious problem when a driver is texting or talking on the phone.
The truck in the Kentucky crash was 38 tons and when the driver hit the brakes hard, he drove into oncoming lanes and hit a van head-on. Driver fatigue and cable barriers were also said to be factors. Alcohol or other substance were not involved. The family and friends in the van were going to a wedding in another state and only two children survived the crash. The NTSB learned that the driver, who was also killed in the crash, had been using a cell phone for many hours prior to the fiery crash. He had also been driving for 13 hours.
To actually impose the endorsed ban, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration along with the states would have to approve this. Although 34 states have now banned texting for drivers of any vehicle, some states still allow drivers to hold phones or use hands free devices.
Drivers of such vehicles as tanker trucks, tractor-trailers and other large trucks, must be licensed with what are called Commercial Motor Vehicle licenses. The ban that is now proposed would apply to these drivers. There are nearly three million truck drivers in the United States.
As a Gwinnett County, Georgia Truck Accident Attorney with offices throughout the Atlanta metro region, Charles Scholle litigates motor vehicle and truck accidents and truck injury cases in all surrounding cities and counties, including Duluth, Fulton County, Grayson, Gwinnett County and more. Please contact our law firm for a free confidential consultation at our main Gwinnett County law office, or at our offices in Decatur, the Perimeter and Buckhead.