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Distracted truck driving against federal trucking regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates truckers in West Virginia and nationwide, recognizes that a truck driver who takes his or her eyes off the road even for a few seconds constitutes a major hazard to other motorists. Specifically, the FMCSA's research suggested that a trucker who takes his or her eyes of the road ahead for the four or five seconds to check a text or make a quick call on their cell phone will travel the length of a football field effectively blind, since they do not have their eyes on the road.

It's certainly not a pretty picture to think of a truck heading blindly down a major highway for 100 yards, especially when one considers the damage a large truck can do if it hits the smaller vehicles around it. Needless to say, these sorts of truck accidents can easily cause serious injuries.

For this reason, the FMCSA has rules that prohibit truck drivers from engaging in what is commonly understood to be the most common form of distracted driving these days, that is, texting and driving or talking on the cell phone while driving. With one narrow exception, the FMCSA's rules prohibit truckers from engaging in either behavior. The exception is that trucker may use a hands free device to make a cell phone call if the trucker can push only one button to make the phone call.

Drivers and trucking companies that choose to ignore this rule do so at the risk of fines and other penalties, including the loss of the right to continue their commercial transportation business, at least to the extent they need to travel out of state. Moreover, if a trucker breaks this rule and causes an accident as a result, an injured Charleston, West Virginia, victim can seek to hold the trucker accountable in a personal injury lawsuit.

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