There are legal ways to prove the trucker driver in your crash was texting while driving. You can obtain text records to back up this claim as well as compensation in a truck accident. Texting while driving is illegal, but it still happens on many roadways. However, when a law enforcement officer thinks a driver is texting, they may not be able to pull a driver over for that offense alone if they do not see the phone in the driver’s hand. It becomes more difficult following an accident, but the driver offers the information in many cases.
Truckers spend long hours behind the wheel of their rig, and driving long distances can become tiresome. Many drivers willingly and knowingly distract themselves to remain alert. Unfortunately, it can have the opposite effect and cause a distracted driving accident.
Documenting the Evidence in a Truck Accident Case
After any accident, documenting evidence is essential in proving that the other driver was at fault. Obtaining the phone records will allow you to see if they were texting, talking, or distracted in any other way. You have the right to subpoena the phone records to determine if texts or calls coincide with the date and time of your accident.
Traffic camera footage is another valuable tool for proving that a trucker in your crash was texting while driving. Many of our highways have traffic cameras on major roadways. Drivers can be tracked from one camera to the next as they drive a specific route. Surprisingly, the resolution on many traffic cameras is excellent for seeing whether a driver is looking away from the road.
Witness Testimony Can Help You Prove Texting While Driving Took Place Before a Truck Accident
Sometimes, witnesses are your strongest ally in proving that another driver was texting or distracted while driving. Sometimes, a driver will tell the responding officer they were texting when while operating their vehicle. There are many other ways to document the evidence in a traffic accident, including:
- Police or accident report
- Tickets issued at the scene
- Dash cam footage from other vehicles
- Accident reconstruction specialists
If you are uncertain about how to document the evidence for your accident, a truck accident attorney with our law firm can guide you. Our legal team is familiar with obtaining phone records, video surveillance footage, and interviewing witnesses during the evidence-gathering process of an injury case.
Establishing Negligence in an Injury Case
In any accident, proving negligence establishes fault. The facts must meet the four elements of negligence to verify that the truck driver was at fault for a texting while driving crash:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
An example of meeting the elements of negligence: The truck driver has a responsibility (duty) to obey traffic laws. If he was texting, he was being unlawful (breach). His distraction resulted in the accident (causation) that caused your injuries and damage to your vehicle (damages).
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The Laws Regarding Texting While Driving
Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.204 spells out the details about texting while driving. The basic provision is that texting is illegal while operating a motor vehicle or conveyance on any roadway open to the public. However, some exceptions exist.
These exceptions allow for law enforcement emergency notification and drivers pulling over from the traffic lane while texting. They include exemptions for road service personnel who were performing their duties and other situations. Additionally, there are specific provisions for trucks.
Exceptions for Truckers
The most significant exception for truck drivers is the ability to use mobile data terminals to transmit and receive data from their dispatch facility. In many trucks, these terminals may be voice-activated. While that does make them safer, it does not entirely remove the distraction of picking up a cell phone and texting while driving.
The Problem With Distracted Driving
As The New York Times reports, one study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that drivers are 23 times more likely to have an accident while texting. It only takes a seconds-long distraction for an accident to happen, according to the report. Cell phone usage reduces reaction time, also. If a driver is traveling at 55 miles per hour but looking down at their cell phone, the vehicle can travel the length of a football field in 5 seconds.
It is imperative to know whether texting had a part in any accident. A truck accident attorney can assist you in obtaining the necessary proof if you have been in an accident with a truck.
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Data Shows Texting While Driving Is Dangerous
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT), as many as 660,000 motorists across the nation are distracted by cell phones. More than 303 million people use cell phones daily.
States are encouraged to develop laws to reduce texting while driving actively. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) provides incentives to states that enact specific policies. A Distracted Driving Grant may be awarded to states for enacting and enforcing:
- Primary law that prohibits texting and includes fines for each successive offense
- Primary law prohibiting cell phone use by drivers under 18 years of age with fines incrementally increasing for each violation
The decrease in texting incidences is statistically notable in states that comply with national standards. Ohio is proactive in promoting good driving practices with its current laws.
Find a Truck Accident Lawyer After a Texting While Driving Truck Accident
Accidents involving trucks on the highway can cause significant damage to passenger vehicles. The weight differential alone multiplies the percentages. When you add in the distraction of texting, the results can be catastrophic.
If you have been involved in an accident with a truck, Bressman Law will fight for your compensation. Our truck accident team understands the laws that apply to trucks and how they apply to your circumstances. Our team will do all the legwork while you work on recovering from your injuries. Contact our team today to begin with a complimentary case evaluation.