Every year, New Mexico sees thousands of serious truck accidents. Many major trucking routes cross through New Mexico – putting other drivers at risk of catastrophic injuries and death in truck accidents. Truck driver distraction is one of the main causes of these collisions. Find out who might be liable for your truck accident if it was caused by a distracted truck driver.
The Extreme Risks of Truck Driver Distraction
Operating a large commercial truck is highly dangerous by nature. Big rigs can weigh more than 80,000 pounds; by contrast, the average passenger car weighs between 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. This means a truck can crush a smaller car in a collision – causing significant injuries or taking the lives of its occupants. Despite these risks, negligent truck drivers may still drive distracted.
Distracted driving is a reckless driver behavior that involves taking the hands off the road, eyes off the wheel or mind off the driving task. Even a moment of distracted driving by a truck driver could reduce the trucker’s reaction times and lead to a devastating crash. A truck driver needs to dedicate his or her full attention to the road to properly and safely operate an 18-wheeler.
What Are Common Truck Driver Distractions?
A truck driver’s job can be tedious. Commercial truck driving for long-haul truckers, for example, involves long hours on the road alone. A truck driver may turn to forms of entertainment that are distracting, such as looking at a cell phone or watching videos while driving, despite cell phone use being against federal trucking regulations.
Unfortunately, a truck driver who takes his or her attention away from driving for even a few seconds can cause a deadly truck accident. Common forms of truck driver distraction are:
- Cell phone use
- Social media
- Taking photographs or videos
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting the radio
- Using a GPS or reading a map
- Personal grooming
- Rubbernecking traffic accidents
- Looking at billboards
- Daydreaming or cognitive distractions
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, looking at a cell phone for just five seconds while driving at a speed of 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field while blindfolded. A truck driver who engages in this extremely dangerous practice could be at fault for a subsequent crash.
Who Is Liable for an Accident Caused By a Distracted Truck Driver?
If an investigation determines that a truck driver was distracted in the moments leading up to an accident, this could place liability on the trucker for the crash. New Mexico’s fault law states that the driver or party at fault for an accident will be responsible for paying. However, trucking companies are often held vicariously responsible for accidents caused by negligent drivers. Rather than the truck driver being held personally responsible, the trucking company may have to pay.
To prove truck driver distraction, an attorney may access the driver’s cell phone records, analyze driving and employment histories, access the truck’s black box data, and hire crash reconstruction experts to piece together the cause of the collision. A truck accident lawyer in New Mexico can discover and collect any available evidence of truck driver distraction on your behalf to prove your claim. For more information about truck accidents caused by distracted truck drivers, contact us to request a free consultation with an attorney at The Fine Law Firm.