Despite the passage of various federal and state laws forbidding cell phone while driving, many commercial truck drivers still use their mobile devices while on the job. Texting while driving is especially dangerous when operating a multi-ton tractor-trailer, and the consequences of these types of accidents tend to be life-threatening.
Texting while driving truck accidents in Charlottesville are almost always grounds for civil litigation. If you were injured in this type of wreck, an experienced semi-truck collision attorney could inform you of your legal options and help you pursue compensation for all your injuries and losses.
After a 2009 study traced most truck accidents to driver distraction, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) passed a rule prohibiting drivers from using any handheld device while operating a truck with a gross vehicle rating weight of 10,000 pounds or more. A violation of this rule is punishable by thousands of dollars in fines and the potential revocation of a trucker’s commercial driver’s license (CDL).
The state government passed a bill that will become effective January 1st, 2021, that makes it illegal for any driver to hold a handheld device while controlling a vehicle in motion. This revised statute is significantly harsher than the previous texting while driving law codified in Code of Virginia §46.2-1078.1.
Under the amended law, a driver holding a cell phone or any other device in his or her hand while driving is a primary offense, meaning law enforcement officers can pull them over and write a ticket solely for that particular offense. This new regulation will likely make it much easier to hold truck operators liable for texting while driving accidents in the future.
Truckers are not the only parties who may be held liable for a crash caused by cell phone use while driving. In certain situations, a trucking company may bear vicarious liability for the negligent actions of its employee. For instance, if a trucking company hires someone with a history of texting while driving traffic violations, the employer’s failure to perform a thorough background check could leave the company liable for any crash in the driver later causes.
If the other party claims you were also acting negligently at the time of the crash, you may not be able to recover any compensation at all. Virginia follows a particularly harsh contributory negligence rule that bars recovery for plaintiffs found partially responsible for their own damages. If you wish to avoid these types of legal roadblocks, it could be beneficial to speak with an attorney.
No truck accident claim is simple. Even if you believe the other driver was clearly at fault, you should seek help from a lawyer. Assistance from seasoned legal counsel could be critical in helping you obtain the maximum amount of compensation. After a texting while driving truck accident in Charlottesville, contact an attorney at The Warren Firm as soon as possible.