Many individuals use cell phones while driving, but given the size of commercial motor vehicles, the consequences can be fatal to truck accident victims. Accordingly, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) has clarified that truck drivers cannot use cell phones while driving. By extension, a truck driver’s use of a cell phone while driving, including texting, may support a finding of negligence in a truck accident lawsuit.
It’s essential to understand how the FMCSA defines the use of a cell phone while driving. Forbidden usage of a cellphone, in this case, includes anything that requires the driver to push more than one button. Accordingly, use encompasses texting, sending emails, and chats. So, as a general rule – anything that requires the driver to operate the phone by pressing more than one button is forbidden. An exception is making or receiving phone calls, which is similarly prohibited, although it only requires pressing one button.
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The law does not prohibit the use of gadgets for truck drivers. The following gadgets are still allowed by law:
There are also certain exceptions to the use of cell phones. Drivers may use their phones to contact emergency services, including reporting accidents, suspected terrorist activity, or any other scenario that may fall under the term “emergency.”
Drivers who are found guilty of violating this provision can be subject to penalties under the law. Furthermore, a driver may be subject to criminal and civil liability if they used their phone when a collision occurred.
To establish civil liability, your truck accident lawyer will have to show that the driver was using their phone – a task easier said than done. Fortunately, sources of evidence are usually left, such as timestamp texts, browsing history, and other digital traces of use.