Driving alongside a large commercial truck on our highways and interstates can be an intimidating experience. Add a distracted driver to the equation and results can quickly turn deadly.
Distracted big rig drivers are causing more and more car accidents in Alabama and elsewhere. In an attempt to curb this deadly behavior, the (NTSB) that suggested that every state considers creating and enforcing a cell phone ban for commercial vehicle drivers.
The NTSB recommends that this ban includes both cell phones and text messaging devices, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. Cell phone use during emergency situations would be the only exception. A ban like this could significantly reduce the risks of trucking accidents in Alabama.
This recommendation comes after a hearing that recently took place that involved an Alabama trucker and a fatal accident that killed 11 people and took out several buildings back in March of 2010. The driver of the truck involved in that accident made several phone calls and sent several text messages just seconds before the fatal accident. Phone records reveal that he had made 70 texts and call within the 24-hour period leading up to the incident.
Our Montgomery trucking accident attorneys understand that accidents involving tractor-trailers and other big rigs can oftentimes product fatal consequences. To help prevent a number of these accidents, the NTSB recommends that all 50 states prohibit the use of both hand-held and hands-free devices by these drivers of commercial trucks. The board has turned the recommendation over to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to help pass it as a law since the NTSB does not have the authority to do so.
"It can be especially lethal when the distracted driver is at the wheel of a vehicle that weighs 40 tons and travels at highway speeds," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.
Some truckers are defending their right to use cell phones while driving, disregarding the number of studies that have proven the dangers of the action. Recent studies conclude that using a cell phone while driving gives you the same abilities and reaction times as a driver that is legally drunk, or has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08.
One of the best solutions for this problem would be for the Alabama Legislature to enact a ban that would stop the use of cell phones and text messaging devices by all drivers on our roadways. A number of lawmakers have made that rather difficult though, as some have blocked recent bills to ban texting drivers statewide. A ban of cell phone use by drivers has never come close to passage in our state. Alabama is one of the few states left that has not regulated the use of cell phones by adult drivers.
"Distracted driving is becoming increasingly prevalent, exacerbating the danger we encounter daily on our roadways," Hersman says.
In 2009, there were nearly 5,500 people killed on U.S. roadways because of accidents that involved a distracted driver. More than 990 of these deaths were the result of driver using a cell phone, according to distraction.gov.