With consumers wanting quick access to materials from around the globe, the trucking industry has engaged in fierce competition to deliver the goods. The number of large rigs on our highways continues to increase to meet this growing demand. As more trucks clog our already crowded roadways, the truck accident lawyer team at Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. stands with you and wants to alert you of legislation that impacts all drivers, including commercial truckers.
Short- and long-distance haulers carry all varieties of cargo. Companies engaging in commercial trucking also work with lobbying groups such as the American Trucking Associations to maintain a variety of platforms and influence legislation. Current concerns within the industry relate to the amount of time and distance a trucker may drive per day, regulations for hazardous materials, fuel efficiency standards, and other rules of the road.
A Lifeline that Can Also Become a Distraction
Years ago, citizens band (CB) radio networks served as the popular way for truckers to communicate. CB radio use proliferated during the 1970s and 1980s as many automobile drivers joined the craze. Although CB radios are still used by truckers to learn about speed traps and other information on the routes they travel, the convenience of texting and the proliferation of wireless apps that include real-time road conditions and other information have a growing number of truckers grabbing their mobile devices instead of their CB microphones.
Holding a CB radio mic while driving is a minor distraction. The driver can maintain one hand on the steering wheel and keep their eyes on the road while they talk and listen. However, truck drivers with full loads trying to send text messages on highways such as Interstates 10, 45, 69, and 610 in the greater Houston area pose a true recipe for disaster.
Legislative Changes in Texas Employers Should Know About
Many states have addressed the distractions caused by texting and other apps through legislation. Some have made texting while driving a primary offense, meaning that an officer has the right to pull over the driver if they are witnessed committing the act. This occurred in Texas with the passage of the Alex Brown Memorial Act that outlaws texting while driving in the Lone Star State effective on September 1, 2017. This legislation recognizes that cellphones, tables, and other electronic devices pose both visual and cognitive distractions and imposes penalties upon drivers for violations.
Your truck accident lawyer encourages safety on the road. We hope that trucking firms develop concrete policies or guidelines for their drivers. We would rather know that a truck driver texts from the safety of a rest area than have to litigate because a brief distraction on a roadway caused permanent harm.
Contact us if you wish to discuss our services.