Understanding Fort Worth Truck Accidents Involving Cell Phones
Cellphone use in truck accidents is a massive problem in Fort Worth. The human brain cannot handle two or more tasks at once. The brain switches back and forth between two or more tasks, which could lead to severe accidents.
Truckers are not allowed to use handheld devices behind the wheel. In the State of Texas, texting while driving is illegal. Research conducted by the FMCSA shows that truckers are six times more likely to be involved in a crash, and the reason is handheld phones. Although federal law prohibits truck drivers from using handheld phones while driving, truck drivers should still use hands-free devices.
If you need help understanding Fort Worth truck accidents involving cell phones, speak to a skilled attorney. A seasoned truck accident lawyer could help you understand your rights and the nuances of a personal injury case.
Rules Regarding Distracted Driving
Texting while driving is explicitly prohibited in Fort Worth when a person is operating a motor vehicle. This includes not only reading or writing text messages but also reading and writing any text-based messages on a cellphone such as posting on social media or checking email.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes regulations on the use of handheld phones for commercial truck drivers. They are allowed to use hands-free phones so long as the trucker does not have to push more than one button or maneuver out of the seat to grab the phone. The FMCSA also prohibits texting while operating a tractor-trailer.
People are allowed to use their phone for other activities while driving. They can use their cellphone for navigation or use it as a music player. They can also make calls to 911 and answer texts if they think it is an emergency.
How Can the Use of a Cellphone Affect a Claim?
Examples of careless driving caused by cellphone use include driving with only one hand on the steering wheel, keeping their eyes off the road to reach for a cellphone, and failing to keep a proper lookout and attention to surrounding dangers because of distractions caused by the cellphone.
Some recent cases and some courts have even agreed that a driver is at fault for the accident if they used their cellphone immediately before or during a collision. The injured plaintiff could contribute to the accident if they were using their cellphone while driving as well.
Use of Phone by The Plaintiff
The use of a cellphone by the plaintiff at the time of an accident can significantly impact a personal injury claim. The plaintiff may be liable for a car accident if they were using a cellphone while driving. An increasing number of states and municipalities prohibit the use of cellphones while driving and exposing drivers to penalties such as fines.
In addition to breaking the law, using a cellphone while driving may also expose someone to a lawsuit if they are involved in a car accident. The plaintiff’s truck accident attorney has to prove that the defendant’s negligent actions caused the crash.
Use of Phone by The Defendant
The use of a cellphone by the defendant at the time of an accident can impact the injury claim of the plaintiff. The plaintiff generally has to prove that the other driver was the one who caused the accident because of their careless driving. Many courts and juries find the defendant at fault for the accident because the driver used a cellphone or other device immediately before or during a collision.
In some cases, an employer might be legally responsible for a car accident caused by an employee if the employee was on a work-related call at the time of the crash. The employer typically has more money to pay a settlement or a lawsuit judgment. This is why growing numbers of employers prohibit employees from making or taking work-related calls while driving.
Use of Phone by Both Parties
If both the injured party and the at-fault driver were found to be using their cellphones at the time of the accident, liability would be determined by which driver was acting the most careless.
Evidence in a Truck Accident Claim
In a truck accident claim involving cellphones, the lawyer will need to gather evidence and look at forensics. Evidence can be testimonial or empirical. Testimonial evidence is gathered from individuals who saw the crash or individuals who received electronic communication from the driver before the crash. Physical evidence includes cellphones, tablets, laptops, video streaming devices, or other in-vehicle devices like an event data recorder or black box.
The next step is collecting data from a cellphone. For example, law enforcement may need a search warrant, a subpoena, or other court order to download cellphone information. It can also be obtained through cellular records. Cellphone records often are pretty useful and show electronic communication, social media posts, and phone call records.
The event data recorder or the black box is typically found in newer vehicles that provide detailed information about the driver’s actions or lack thereof leading up to the crash. EDRs will record information such as speed, acceleration, and braking. Some potential experts might include a mobile device forensic examiner or analyst, a cellphone company records representative, a crash reconstructionist, a crash scene investigator, a road or mechanical engineer, or an auto manufacturer.
Seek Help from a Texting While Driving Truck Accident Attorney
A tractor-trailer collision could cause devastating damage and injuries to those involved. A seasoned truck accident attorney could investigate the crash, collect evidence, and speak to witnesses to determine the exact cause of the collision. With the help of a skilled attorney, you could hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. Call today to get a better understanding of Fort Worth truck accidents involving cell phones.