The average long-haul truck driver covers more than 100,000 miles of roadway each and every year. While these transportation professionals are usually acutely aware of their surroundings, the time they spend behind the wheel can take a toll. Truckers, just like ordinary motorists, can get distracted: by their phone, a podcast, or even their own surroundings. But when truck drivers get distracted, the consequences can be disastrous.
What to Know About Distracted Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are responsible for controlling multi-ton vehicles. If they get distracted and end up striking a passenger car or motorcycle, the effect is often devastating.
Truck drivers can become distracted in many different ways. In general, there are three different types of distraction:
- Visual distraction, when a trucker takes their eyes off the road
- Manual distraction, when a driver removes their hands from the wheel
- Cognitive distraction, when a trucker’s mind is not focused on the road
Many activities involve more than one type of distraction. For example, a truck driver who is sending or reading a text message is visually, manually, and cognitively distracted.
Since truckers practically live on the road, they face more distractions, more often, than the average motorist. They may have to consult a map while driving, or reprogram their GPS to accommodate an updated delivery address. And, oftentimes, truck drivers get lonely—they may talk or text their loved ones, or converse with their colleagues over amateur radio.
While the root causes of distraction are easy to understand, every second a truck driver is not paying attention to traffic is a second they can cause a serious, life-changing accident.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt by a Distracted Truck Driver
Taking action after being involved in an accident can be difficult: you may be hurt, confused, or laid up in the hospital.
At the scene of the crash, if you are able, check on your passengers and anyone else who may be injured. Then, call the police. Even if the cause of the crash appears clear-cut, the officer’s report can bolster your case if you ever need to file a personal injury lawsuit.
While you are waiting for law enforcement, document the scene: take pictures of the crash site, note any eyewitnesses’ name(s) and contact information, and make a video walk-around of the accident.
Seek medical attention at the earliest opportunity. Even if you do not believe you were injured, a physician can help diagnose injuries you did not realize you had.
Promptly visiting a doctor also helps ward off accusations that you are exaggerating your injuries—a common tactic employed by insurance companies trying to save money.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If you or a loved one was hurt by a distracted truck driver, you may be able to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to assist in your recovery.
However, you should never expect a trucking company—or their insurer—to roll over and pay a fair award. Even if you saw the driver talking on their phone or trying to light a cigarette, you will still have to prove that their distraction caused your injuries.
Proving that a truck driver’s negligence caused you harm can be difficult, especially when you are challenging a company that likely has its own legal team—a legal team that specializes in attacking claims like yours.