Driving while distracted is dangerous in any circumstance. However, it could be deadly when the distracted driver is operating a big rig. Although state law and federal rules require truckers to keep their attention on the road, many severe truck accidents are attributed to distracted truck drivers.

Anyone who suffered injuries in a distracted driving truck accident in Houston could take legal action against the trucker, the company they work for, and any other parties whose negligence contributed to the wreck. Contact a skilled truck accident attorney at Roberts Markland LLP to discuss your situation and learn how to secure compensation for your medical costs, lost income, pain, suffering, and other losses.

Dangers Associated with Distracted Driving in Houston

According to state government sources, distracted driving was a factor in 20% of vehicle wrecks in recent years. Likewise, inattentive driving crashes caused over 400 deaths and 2000 injuries in Texas.

Texting while driving is a well-known distraction, and Texas Transportation Code §545.4251 makes using an electronic device to read, write, or send text messages behind the wheel illegal. However, other activities also could divert a driver’s attention from the road, including:

  • Interacting with passengers or pets
  • Grooming
  • Consuming food or beverages
  • Adjusting a sound system
  • Reading
  • Daydreaming
  • Reaching for something
  • Smoking

Because truckers are often on the road for many hours at a time, it is natural that they might seek a distraction to combat fatigue or boredom. However, focusing on the road is critical for truck drivers, and inattentiveness could be negligence. A skilled local attorney could subpoena a trucker’s cell phone records and in-cab video surveillance to establish a trucker was preoccupied when an accident occurred.

Safety Standards for Truck Drivers

Tractor trailers represent a hazard on the highway. Often, these large vehicles are slow to brake, and steering them can be difficult. Additionally, semis have large blind spots on all four sides of the vehicle. These factors make it imperative that truckers direct their full attention to the road while their rigs are in motion.

Trucks are common carriers under federal law because they transport goods for a fee. The law requires common carriers to use the utmost care to protect others. Since semi drivers hold commercial driving licenses (CDL), they could lose their CDL temporarily or permanently if convicted of specific moving violations.

Federal rules prohibit truckers from using hand-held electronic devices while driving. A trucker engaging in any other form of distraction violates the standard requiring truckers to use the utmost care while operating their vehicles. A hardworking lawyer could investigate your case’s details and collect evidence proving an inattentive trucker violated a duty of care owed to you.

Potentially Responsible Parties in Distracted Tractor-Trailer Crash Claims

If a truck driver caused a collision because they were distracted from the road, they are responsible for any losses you suffered due to the incident. In many cases, the company that employs a negligent trucker is also responsible under the legal principle of vicarious liability. A company is liable for an employee’s reckless behavior if the trucker acted within the scope of their employment when the crash occurred.

However, a trucking company is not liable if a collision happened while a trucker was on a personal errand. It could be challenging to hold the company accountable if the trucker was an independent owner/operator or contractor. But a knowledgeable attorney in Houston could determine whether a semi driver was operating independently or the contracting company was exercising sufficient control. In the latter case, a trucking company might be liable for an “independent” trucker’s negligence.

Seeking compensation from a trucking company is advantageous because these businesses typically have commercial insurance policies with high limits. As a result, you will likely receive a heftier payout from the company’s commercial policy than from a trucker.

Pursue Damages for a Distracted Driving Truck Accident with a Houston Attorney

If you suffered injuries because a negligent truck driver was not paying attention to the road, you have the right to compensation. Filing a claim for damages eases the financial burden on you and forces the trucker and their employer to take accountability for their negligence.

Reach out to a personal injury lawyer after a distracted driving truck accident in Houston as soon as possible. You have limited time to act, so call Roberts Markland LLP to schedule a case review.