Distracted semi-truck drivers put California lives unnecessarily at risk

A truck driver in California caused a fatal accident when he choked while trying to eat as he drove down a highway near Davis. According to News 10, two men died in the truck accident when the truck hit their vehicle after hitting two others. The impact caused a fire to engulf the men's car and part of the truck's trailer.

A few days before that accident, a concrete-pump truck caused a multi-vehicle accident when it hit a truck and trailer, according to The Tribune. The cause of that accident was not officially released but because the concrete-truck rear-ended the semi distraction may have played a role in the accident.

A growing problem

These accidents point to a growing problem among truck drivers-distracted driving. According to a government website for distracted driving, distracted driving caused injury to 387,000 people and killed 3,331 people in 2011. It can easily be assumed that a portion of those victims were in accidents involving a semi-truck.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as any type of action that requires a driver to take their eyes off of the road, their hands off the wheel or distracts the mind. Any behavior that induces drivers to ignore these three guidelines is considered unsafe and puts lives at risk.

Common distractions

Because commercial truck drivers are on the road for long periods of time and are working, there are a lot of sources of distraction for them. These distractions include:

  • Dash computer that sends messages from fleet manager
  • Cell phone usage such as chatting, texting, checking email
  • Eating/drinking
  • Drowsiness/stiff muscles
  • Thought wandering
  • Stereo tuning

Trying to multi-task and operate a big rig can result in an accident and serious injury to victims. Some accident victims, like the two men mentioned in the beginning of this article, lose their lives.

Long lasting consequences

Distracted truck drivers can set a chain of events into motion that have long-lasting consequences. Some victims suffer permanent paralysis, preventing them from working and resulting in a loss of income for their families. Medical bills can be astronomical, resulting in financial hardships as families try to move forward. Such debilitating accidents affect not only the victims, but their families as well.

Unnecessary risk

The truth is that by eliminating distractions, truck drivers can prevent these kinds of accidents from occurring. This is not behavior that cannot be unlearned and by drivers making it a priority to avoid creating an unnecessary risk to other motorists they share the roads with, they can make the highways a safer place to be. Anyone injured because of the actions of a distracted truck driver may want to consider meeting with an attorney.