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Distracted driving a problem among select groups of truck drivers

Distracted driving remains a serious problem in Oklahoma and other parts of the country even though most states have laws in place prohibiting cell phone use while operating a vehicle. However, research suggests the problem is actually getting worse. An analysis of nearly 65 million vehicle trips found distracted driving occurred during nearly 40 percent of them. It's also an issue that extends to certain drivers within the trucking industry.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), large trucks have a crash rate that's lower than other types of vehicles. There's also research suggesting that passenger car drivers are primarily at fault for approximately three-fourths of all fatal truck and car accidents. Even with a generally good safety record, the trucking industry has problems with a subset of drivers who behave recklessly.

Nearly 90 percent of distracted truck drivers are likely to exceed the speed limit by 10 miles or more. They're also more likely to ignore red lights or stop signs. Nearly 40 percent of such drivers are likely to experience near collisions. Mobile devices are the most common type of driver distraction for truck drivers. In addition, truckers who've had at least one collision are also more likely to be distracted by phone call activity or texting than drivers with a perfect record are. To combat this problem, FMCSA has issued stricter penalties for professional drivers using, holding or reaching for mobile devices.

Since it's not always evident that distracted driving was involved in a car accident, a personal injury attorney may review the results from accident investigations. If a truck driver is the negligent party, the investigation process might involve determining vehicle speed at the time of the accident, checking a driver's history of collisions or near collisions and interviewing possible witnesses. Affected parties may be entitled to appropriate compensation.

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