Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers

Truck Drivers Put Others at Risk Because of Cell Phone Use

Our Baltimore truck accident lawyers hold negligent truck drivers and trucking companies accountable for accidents in Maryland

Using a cell phone while driving is always dangerous, but if the vehicle one is driving is a heavy commercial truck, the risk of an accident which causes serious injury is even greater. LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. helps truck accident victims recover compensation for injuries suffered in commercial trucking accidents. Our lawyers will thoroughly investigate your accident to determine whether or not a truck driver was using a cell phone or texting at the time of the accident. Since it is a violation of federal laws, proof that a driver was using a handheld device is enough to demonstrate the driver’s fault.

Mobile phones and commercial driving

The use of handheld cell phones by interstate truck drivers and bus drivers operating large vehicles is prohibited by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) created the rule barring handheld phone use to protect other motorists from potentially deadly tractor-trailer accidents.

Effective as of January 3, 2012, the law allows commercial vehicle drivers to speak on hands-free equipment in a safe manner. The device being used must not require a driver to take his or her eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or distract attention from operating the truck or bus. Commercial drivers are permitted to use a push-to-talk device that can be reached from a normal seated position with the seatbelt fastened. Dialing, holding or reaching for a phone is not allowed.

Consequences of violating the handheld cell phone law

Commercial drivers could face a federal civil penalty of up to $2,750 for a single offense. Multiple violations can result in suspension of a driver’s commercial driver license (CDL) by the state, or disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle on the federal level. Trucking companies may also be fined up to $11,000 for each driver’s violation.

Texting and driving ban for big-rig drivers

Federal regulations also prohibit texting and driving by commercial vehicle drivers. In September 2010, the FMCSA passed rules forbidding commercial truck and bus operators to type, transmit or read text messages while driving. The PHMSA implemented a companion policy in February 2011 forbidding texting by intrastate hazardous materials drivers.

Responsibilities of trucking companies

Employers are responsible for their drivers’ actions while they are on the job — a legal concept called respondeat superior. Truck companies may be held liable in civil cases for creating an environment that tolerates or encourages irresponsible driving conduct, such as driving while fatigued, drinking, taking drugs, speeding, texting or talking on the phone.

Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Hold Truck Drivers Responsible for Distracted Driving

To learn more about laws concerning commercial drivers and handheld devices, call Maryland truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact our firm online to arrange a free consultation. Our Baltimore personal injury law firm is available 24/7 to take calls from auto accident victims. Our legal team handles your auto accident claim on contingency fee basis. We get paid nothing until we win your case.