Everyone knows texting and driving is unsafe, but many drivers still take part in this dangerous activity. Now, Illinois police are cracking down on some of the most potentially deadly participants: drivers of large trucks. Long-haul, over-the-road truckers bring a much higher potential of extreme tragedy if they are involved in a distracted driving accident, due to the size and weight of their vehicles. Bigger trucks + heavy loads = disaster.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road is distracted driving. This is not limited to cell phone use, though this is one of the most prevalent and dangerous in recent years. Any use of a phone is a contributor to distracted driving, including texting, looking things up on the internet, using a GPS or mapping app for directions, using the phone to play music, take video or pictures, and more.
Phones are by far not the only contributors to distracted driving crashes. Messing with the car radio, talking with passengers/children, sleepiness, adjusting the car’s climate control system or adjusting your seat, eating and drinking, personal grooming—all of these are causes of distracted driving crashes.
Use of a phone while driving has been banned in Illinois since 2014, though hands-free and Bluetooth use is approved for drivers over the age of 19. Despite the ban, 1 in 4 drivers in Illinois, on average, have been determined to be using a phone just before they crashed. Did you know using a cell phone while driving increases your chance of a crash by 400%?
Large Truck Crash Statistics
The bigger and heavier the vehicle, the more devastating the impact. The highest rate of fatality when large trucks are involved in crashes is to those in regular passenger vehicles. Trucks weigh 20 to 30 times more than cars and take much longer to slow down during braking due to their size. Approximately one out of every 10 highway deaths is due to a large truck crash. That’s around 4,000 people a year who lost their lives because of accidents with trucks.
Injuries due to truck crashes were on the decline through 2009, and then those statistics began to rise again. It’s quite possible the increase in these statistics has risen directly in proportion to the availability and use of cell phones while driving. In 2016, there were 119,000 crashes with large trucks or buses that resulted in injuries. Costs of damages tend to be higher when bigger trucks are involved as well. Bigger vehicle, bigger impact.
Illinois State Police Are Tackling Trucker Texting
Despite the laws, Illinois State Police (ISP) continue to see drivers every day using their phones while driving. In an attempt to crack down on these larger, more dangerous vehicles, the ISP are now utilizing plainclothes officers on the road, who are riding in large trucks themselves in order to be able to see and document truck driver cell phone use. Shockingly, this not only includes truck drivers who are texting; they have also observed drivers using mobile devices to watch movies while they should be giving full attention to the road and the vehicles around their truck. The plainclothes officer then contacts other officers stationed nearby, who pull over the truck and issue a citation. This is not only a costly offense, but if you rack up enough citations, you could potentially lose your job, your commercial driver’s license (CDL), and your regular driver’s license, severely impacting your ability to make a living and live a normal life.
Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
Our truck accident lawyer at the Law Office of Jeff Green has considerable experience in handling cases of victims who have been involved in a crash with a large truck such as a semi or tractor-trailer. They represent the interests of not only occupants of regular passenger vehicles, but also motorcycle riders, bicyclists, pedestrians, and others who have been impacted by large truck crashes. If you have been involved in a large truck accident, contact our office today to learn how we can help.