April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month across the country and we thought it was a good time to remind Indiana truck drivers—and notify other motorists—that it is illegal under federal law to text while driving a commercial vehicle. As we have seen with all drivers, texting and driving laws are difficult for police officers to enforce, so what gives this law its teeth? We take a look here.
What Does Indiana Texting While Driving Law Prohibit?
The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Association (FMCSA) passed a rule in 2012 restricting the use of hand-held devices for all commercial drivers, including truck and bus operators. The motivation for this rule was FMCSA research that found that commercial vehicle drivers were 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a crash, near-crash, or unintentional lane deviation while they were texting than when they were not. Their study found that drivers take their eyes off the road for nearly five seconds when they are sending or reading a text, traveling the length of a football field.
What is considered texting under the law? FMCSA defines texting for the purposes of this law as manually entering text into or reading text from any mobile device. Along with texting, the law also applies to emailing, instant messaging, and pressing more than a single button to make or end a phone call.
What Are the Penalties for Truck Drivers in Indiana Who Text While Operating a Commerical Vehicle?
Because the consequences of texting and driving can be catastrophic, the penalties if a truck driver is caught are also severe, including the following:
- Driver disqualification for up to 120 days
- A fine of up to $2,750 for a commercial driver
- A fine of up to $11,000 for an employer who allows or requires the use of a hand-held device while operating a commercial vehicle
What If Your Accident Was Caused by a Texting Truck Driver?
If you were seriously injured or a loved one was killed in an Indiana truck crash, you need the help of a law firm that is experienced in these kinds of cases. Along with securing the truck’s data recorder, an experienced Indiana truck accident attorney will investigate the possibility that the driver was in violation of the texting and driving law. This can pin 100 percent of the blame for the crash on the truck driver and protect your claim for the damages you are owed.