Alabama truck accident lawyer explains why accidents are up nationwide
Distracted drivers often cause serious truck accidents. In recent months, the number of distracted driving truck accidents has actually increased, even though fewer drivers have been on the road due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent nationwide study of truck accident data.
So why are distracted driving accidents such a serious problem recently among truck drivers? What’s driving the increase in these dangerous truck accidents? The Birmingham, Alabama truck accident attorneys at Shuttlesworth Law Firm, LLC, explain what you need to know – and what to do if a distracted truck driver causes your crash.
Fatal motor vehicle accidents have increased nationwide since March
Since the coronavirus pandemic became widespread in the United States in March, fewer drivers have been on the road in many parts of the country due to stay-at-home orders in many states. Even so, the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents has continued to climb in recent months, according to numerous news reports, including one from The Wall Street Journal.
Many state officials attributed the increase in the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents in March and April to speeding.
“There’s a lot more available lane space for people to use—and abuse,” said Michael Hanson, director of Minnesota’s Office of Traffic Safety, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
Specifically, even though road miles traveled in the top 10 metropolitan areas was down 50 to 60 percent in March and April, the average change in speed during rush hour in the same 10 areas was up 5 to 12 mph on the same roads, according to data collected by Inrix and reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Speeding only tells part of the story. To fully understand why commercial truck accidents have increased, you need to examine what commercial truck drivers have been doing on the road the past few months.
Cellphone use up 20-30 percent among commercial truck drivers
CCJ Digital, which covers the commercial trucking industry, recently published an article about the recent increase in distracted truck driving among commercial truck drivers. Truce Software, ELD and Samsara, a fleet management technology company, analyzed data compiled from 120,000 commercial trucks equipped with Truce Software.
Like many drivers around the country, truck drivers have been driving 11 mph faster than the posted speed limit since March, according to this recent study. That’s not the only reason why distracted truck driving accidents have been on the rise since March. According to this study, these companies discovered a:
- 20 percent increase in text messages sent to commercial truck drivers since March
- 26.5 percent increase in truck drivers attempting to access an app on an electronic device while on the road
- 30.8 percent increase in inbound phone calls to truck drivers since March
Distracted driving has long been a common cause of serious motor vehicle accidents. In 2018, a total of 2,841 people nationwide were killed in accidents caused by distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
What should I do if a distracted truck driver causes my accident?
Knowing what to do after a distracted driving truck accident caused by a commercial truck driver can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle your truck accident on your own. Instead, we strongly recommend taking the following steps after a distracted driver causes a truck accident involving you or a loved one:
- Call the police and ask them to respond to your truck accident.
- Tell the police officer you suspect the truck driver was distracted at the time of your crash.
- Seek immediate medical attention after your accident. If your accident happened several days ago, see a doctor right away. You could have a serious internal injury.
- If someone saw your accident, get the witness’ full name and phone number. Eyewitness testimony can be a powerful piece of evidence.
- If you’re healthy enough to do so, take pictures of your accident scene. Make sure to get pictures which could indicate the truck driver was distracted and didn’t try to slow down. A telltale sign of distracted driving can be a lack of skid marks by the truck driver.
- If you can safely do so, get the following information from the truck driver:
- Phone number
- Driver’s license number
- Insurance information
- Name, phone number and address of the trucking company the driver works for, if applicable
- Contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Our experienced Alabama truck accident attorneys at Shuttlesworth Law Firm, LLC, can help you every step of the way. We know how to investigate distracted driving accidents caused by commercial truck drivers. We can demand to see the truck’s so-called black box, which records exactly how fast the truck was traveling at the time of the crash and if the driver attempted to apply the brakes before your collision. We can also demand to see the truck driver’s cellphone records and driving history to see if there’s a pattern of similar accidents in the past.