After examining the strength of each state’s distracted driving laws, it could easily be argued that Florida has some more work to do. Indeed, the Sunshine State currently has no handheld ban in place, while texting while driving is only classified as only a secondary offense.
It could perhaps be argued then that state lawmakers could look to places like New Jersey for inspiration or even the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which has its own set of incredibly strict restrictions in place concerning interstate truckers.
A few years ago, the FMCSA expressly prohibited all interstate truckers — as well as commercial bus drivers — from either texting or using handheld cellphones while behind the wheel.
Here, the agency’s motivation for such a decisive move was research demonstrating just how dangerous — and deadly — distracted commercial motor vehicle drivers have the potential to be:
- CMV drivers who text while driving are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in some manner of safety-critical event, including unintentional lane departures, near-misses and crashes.
- CMV drivers who dial while driving are six times more likely to be involved in some manner of safety-critical event.
- CMV drivers who looked away from the road to read a text did so for an average of 4.6 seconds; At just 55 miles-per-hour, this equates to traveling the length of an entire football field and its two end zones — 371 feet — without looking.
- CMV drivers who looked away from the road to dial a phone did so for an average of 3.8 seconds; At just 55 miles-per-hour, this equates to traveling the length of an entire football field — 306 feet — without looking.
In our next post on this topic, we’ll explore the exact conduct prohibited by the FMCSA’s regulations and the potential consequences for those CMV drivers caught in the act.
If you suffered devastating injuries or lost a loved one in a truck accident caused by the reckless actions of a driver or motor carrier, please consider contacting a skilled attorney as soon as possible.