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The Impact of Distracted Driving in Atlanta Truck Accidents

The Impact of Distracted Driving in Atlanta Truck AccidentsDistracted driving has become a concerning issue on roads across the United States, contributing to a significant number of accidents each year. Trucking accidents in Georgia, caused by distracted driving, can be particularly severe given the size and weight of commercial trucks.

Distracted driving involves any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that 3,522 Americans were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2021. The three main types of distractions include visual (taking eyes off the road), manual (taking hands off the wheel), and cognitive (taking the mind off driving). Distracted truck drivers can be especially hazardous due to the long hours they spend on the road.

Common distractions for truck drivers

Cellphone use is a leading cause of distracted driving accidents. Whether it’s texting, talking, or using apps, the temptation to use a cell phone while driving can be strong. Georgia and the federal government both have laws regulating cellphone use while driving a commercial vehicle.

Modern trucks are equipped with various in-cab technologies, including GPS systems, communication devices, and entertainment systems. While these technologies can enhance efficiency, they also pose a distraction risk if not used responsibly.

Truck drivers often face tight schedules, leading some to eat meals while driving. This seemingly harmless activity can take a driver’s attention away from the road, increasing the risk of accidents.

Long hours on the road can result in driver fatigue, leading to daydreaming or “zoning out.” Fatigued driving is a significant cognitive distraction that impairs a driver’s ability to react quickly to changing road conditions.

Consequences of distracted driving in Atlanta

Distracted driving significantly increases the risk of accidents involving commercial trucks. The delayed reaction times and impaired judgment associated with distractions can lead to devastating consequences on the road.

Due to their size and weight, tractor-trailer trucks can cause severe injuries and fatalities in accidents. When distracted driving is a factor, the severity of injuries tends to escalate, affecting not only the occupants of other vehicles but also the truck driver.

Truck accidents resulting from distracted driving can cause extensive property damage. Their economic consequences extend beyond medical expenses, affecting insurance premiums, repair costs, and potential legal action.

Texting while driving is illegal for commercial truck drivers. A 2009 study, shared by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration  (FMCSA) found that “text messaging while driving increased a driver’s chances of being involved in a safety-critical event by 23 times. This study found that, in the moments before a safety-critical event, drivers who were texting while driving spent nearly 5 seconds looking at their phone.”

Legal implications of distracted driving in Georgia

Georgia has laws in place regarding cellphone use while driving. It is illegal for drivers to use handheld devices while operating any type of vehicle. Violating these laws can result in fines and other legal consequences.

Distracted driving is also considered a form of negligence. If a truck driver’s distraction leads to an accident, they may be held liable for damages. You can pursue a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Atlanta trucking companies can also be held responsible for distracted driving accidents involving their drivers. If it is proven that the company failed to enforce policies discouraging distractions or allowed unsafe practices, they may be held liable for damages.

Further, in many modern commercial trucks, black box data recorders capture information about the vehicle’s speed, braking, and other critical factors. This data can be important in establishing the cause of an accident and proving distracted driving.

Types of Atlanta truck accidents caused by distracted driving

Distracted driving is a large factor in many road accidents, including those involving commercial trucks. When drivers are not fully focused on the road, they are more likely to make mistakes and cause accidents. Here are some types of truck accidents that can be caused by distracted driving:

  • Rear-end collisions. Distracted truck drivers may fail to notice when the traffic ahead is slowing down or coming to a stop, leading to rear-end collisions.
  • Lane departure accidents. Lack of attention can result in a truck driver drifting out of their lane, leading to collisions with other vehicles or objects on the side of the road.
  • Intersection accidents. Distracted driving can cause truck drivers to run red lights or fail to yield at intersections, resulting in collisions with other vehicles.
  • Jackknife accidents. A distracted truck driver may lose control of the vehicle, leading to a jackknife situation where the trailer swings out at an angle to the cab, potentially colliding with other vehicles.
  • Sideswipe accidents. Failing to check blind spots due to distraction can result in a truck sideswiping other vehicles while changing lanes.
  • Roll-over accidents. Lack of attention and failure to react appropriately to road conditions can contribute to roll-over accidents, where a truck tips over onto its side.
  • Run-off-the-road accidents. Distracted driving can cause a truck driver to veer off the road, leading to accidents involving ditches, embankments, or other obstacles.
  • Cargo spills. Inattentiveness can result in a truck driver losing control and causing a spill of the cargo, potentially creating hazardous conditions for other road users.
  • Collisions with stationary objects. Distracted truck drivers may collide with stationary objects such as guardrails, poles, or parked vehicles.
  • Multi-vehicle pileups. A distracted truck driver can trigger a chain reaction, causing a multi-vehicle pileup involving several vehicles on the road.

Preventing Savannah truck accidents caused by distracted driving

Implementing comprehensive driver training programs that emphasize the dangers of distracted driving and the importance of adhering to safety regulations can contribute to accident prevention.

Advanced safety technologies, such as collision avoidance systems and lane departure warnings, can assist truck drivers in maintaining focus on the road and avoiding potential hazards.

Strict enforcement of distracted driving laws, along with periodic inspections to ensure compliance, can also deter truck drivers from engaging in distracting behaviors while on the road.

Fostering a safety-conscious culture within the trucking industry can encourage responsible behavior among drivers. This includes creating incentives for safe driving practices and ensuring violations are penalized.

If you are injured in a truck accident involving a distracted driver, the attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton are here to help. We have years of experience in commercial truck accident cases, and will investigate your claim as well as work to secure compensation for your injuries and losses. Don’t try to go it alone – we can help you on your legal journey. To learn more about how we can help with your truck accident claim, call our offices or fill out our contact form. We serve clients from our Atlanta and Savannah offices.

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