Baton Rouge motorists risk falling victim to distracted truckers

Sharing the Baton Rouge roads and highways with big rigs could be nerve-wracking for drivers of passenger vehicles. Attempting to avoid distracted car drivers is already a challenge, and distracted semi drivers could exacerbate the crash risks. In car vs. truck accidents, the occupants of the smaller vehicles are typically worse off. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict regulations when it comes to distracted truckers. The agency’s definition and rules of distracted driving are straightforward: 

  • No Reaching 
  • No Holding 
  • No Dialing 
  • No Texting 
  • No Reading 

The term “texting” includes the following actions: 

  • The manual entering of alphanumeric texts into electronic devices 
  • Reading text from electronic devices 
  • Initiating or terminating a call by pressing two or more buttons 
  • Using a dispatching device for texting 

Additional rules about mobile device use  

To define mobile device use, the FMCA issued separate rules. Truck operators may not make calls on mobile devices requiring drivers to hold them, not even with one hand. They may not make calls requiring the truck driver to push more than one button on the device. Truck operators may not move out of the proper seated driver position to reach a mobile device, nor may they unclip their seat belts to reach the device. 

Big rig drivers may only use hands-free mobile devices installed within easy reach. The only exception to this rule is making mobile phone calls to contact law enforcement or emergency workers.  

Although strict enforcement might limit car vs.truck accidents, noncompliance will likely still occur. Victims of such accidents will probably have viable claims to take to a Baton Rouge civil court, pursuing financial relief. However, proving that a truck driver was distracted at the time of the accident could be complicated. 

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