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What penalties can a texting-and-driving truck driver face?

Commercial motor vehicle drivers are not allowed to text and drive. There are specific definitions for texting and driving as it relates to truck and other commercial vehicle drivers.

Texting is defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration as "manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device." In other words, this includes things like email, instant messaging, accessing a webpage or pushing more than one button to start or end voice communication. This also means that truck drivers must keep their mobile phone close by so they can reach it with their seat belt properly adjusted. In addition, they should use the speakerphone feature or an earpiece, as well as one-button touch features or voice activated features to answer, initiate or terminate a call.

So what are the penalties for truck drivers who are caught texting while driving? The civil penalties can be disqualification for drivers who have multiple offenses and fines of up to $2,750. Motor carriers could be subject to a fine of up to $11,000 if they allow their drivers to text and drive.

Texting and driving is a dangerous activity for any driver. It requires that you take your eyes off the road and your hands off the steering wheel. Recent research show that commercial vehicle drivers that text are 23.2 times more likely to have a safety-critical event than those drivers who don't.

If you have been injured in an accident with a texting truck driver, you have options for seeking compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can give you additional information on how to proceed with your claim.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Distracted Driving," accessed Dec. 04, 2015

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