Distracted driving is a leading cause in serious auto accidents and truck accidents across the Florida and the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2020. This is an alarming figure, and it tells us that people are engaging in risky behaviors. Namely, folks are texting and playing on their cell phones while driving. This data is especially alarming when we consider the fact that truck drivers are no exception; they are using their phones while driving too.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving occurs when a driver engages in any activity that diverts his or her attention away from the road. A lapse in focus, no matter how short, can cause a serious or deadly accident. Here are some of the more common activities that divert a driver’s attention from the road:
- Talking or texting on a phone;
- Eating or drinking;
- Talking with people in the vehicle;
- Changing songs on the stereo;
- Adjusting the volume on the stereo;
- Watching videos; and
- Adjusting navigation applications.
Any of these activities can divert a truck driver’s attention away from the road. Although it’s dangerous for any driver to become distracted, it’s especially dangerous when a truck driver is distracted while driving because a semi truck could weigh 80,000 pounds or more. When a trucker is traveling at just 55 miles per hour, the truck can travel the length of a football field while the driver sends a brief, five-second text message. A lot of bad things can happen over the length of a football field.
Can My Lawyer Help Me Prove That a Distracted Trucker Caused My Truck Accident?
Although distracted driving is alarmingly common, it can be difficult to prove that a truck driver was distracted at the time of a truck accident. However, a proper and detailed investigation can lead to strong evidence of distracted driving. Below are some of the best types of evidence for showing that a distracted truck driver caused a truck crash.
Eyewitnesses to the Trucking Accident
One of the most obvious types of evidence that can make a huge difference in a given truck accident case is eyewitness testimony. Sometimes, an eyewitness will observe a trucker engaging in various activities while driving in the moments before or during a truck accident. For example, someone walking on the street in downtown Orlando may notice a trucker watching a video on his phone just before the trucker rolls through a red light and hits another vehicle. This testimony is invaluable. Therefore, if possible, always get the contact information of an eyewitness to your accident. That way, you can reach the eyewitness when you need his or her testimony.
The Truck Driver’s Cell Phone Records
One of the best types of evidence for proving distracted driving is the truck driver’s cell phone records. Sometimes, these cell phone records will show that the trucker was on the phone or texting at the time of the truck accident. If so, you have proof that the trucker was not paying proper attention to the road while driving.
Black Box Data in the Semi Truck
Another useful source of evidence is the black box data in the semi truck. Many modern vehicles, including trucks, contain a “black box” device that tracks and stores various information. The information most useful in proving distracted driving is the braking information. For example, if the trucker slammed into your vehicle without ever applying the brakes, the inference is that the trucker was either distracted or asleep. How else would the trucker fail to apply the brakes when there were stopped vehicles ahead? Thus, black box data can greatly strengthen your Orlando truck accident case.
Dash Cam Footage or Other Video of the Trucker
In addition to black box data, a truck may have a dash cam installed that records and stores videos of the trucker while the trucker is driving. These videos can show that the trucker was looking away or otherwise distracted at the time of the accident. If so, your Orlando truck accident lawyers have excellent proof that the trucker caused the accident.
What if We Can’t Prove the Truck Driver Was Distracted?
Sometimes, it’s simply not possible to prove a truck driver was engaging in distracted driving, even when you’re certain that’s what happened. It’s OK. There are other ways to prove liability in an Orlando truck accident.
A distracted trucker will often violate one or more rules of the road, which leads to the trucking accident. For example, the trucker may fail to properly yield the right of way; the trucker may make an improper turn in front of oncoming traffic; the trucker may fail to stop at a stop sign or stop light; or the trucker may improperly switch lanes. If we can show the trucker violated a traffic law or was otherwise careless or negligent, we have a strong argument that the trucker should be liable for any of the damages you suffered because of the truck accident.
Is the Truck Driver the Only Liable Party in my Florida Truck Accident, or Could Other Parties Be Liable Too?
There are often multiple liable parties in a truck accident. For example, the trucking company itself may be liable for negligent hiring or retention. In other words, the trucking company can be liable for hiring a driver with a history of dangerous driving. Similarly, the trucking company may be liable for failing to train the truck driver or for not training the truck driver properly.
In addition to the trucking companies, other parties can be liable for a trucking accident if they acted negligently. For example, the cargo loader could negligently secure a load, which comes loose and causes an accident. Also, the truck manufacturer could be liable for defective parts on the truck, which contribute to or cause a truck accident. In the same way, the manufacturer of the truck’s tires could be responsible if a defect in the tires caused the accident.
Every defendant potentially has an insurance policy that could contribute to your damages. Thus, it’s critical that your attorney uncover all possible defendants, and the key to uncovering all the possible defendants in your truck accident case is to begin the investigation as soon as possible. That’s where an attorney can jump into action and help you get the justice you deserve.
Schedule Your Free Consultation With One Of Our Orlando Truck Accident Lawyers
As you can see, truck accidents can be much more complex than your typical Orlando automobile accident. There can be many parties involved. Moreover, the injuries in a truck accident are often much more severe because of the sheer size and weight of semi trucks and 18-wheelers. However, there is no need to fear. We handle serious accidents. That’s what we do. We guide our clients through the legal process so that they can get the justice they deserve.
When you’re ready to schedule your free consultation, you can reach out to us at (321) 352-7588, or you can contact us on our website and give us a little bit of information. Then, we’ll reach back out to you by email or phone to schedule your consultation. We’re here when you need us.