The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a final report on a truck and train collision that occurred last year which led to the explosion of a 15-car freight train. The results of the report lend support to the position that limits should be extended on the use of all portable electronic devices by commercial drivers.

Denver Truck Crashes Could be Prevented by Barring Hands-Free Phones

A truck accident lawyer knows driver distraction is a leading cause of motor vehicle collisions. Hands-free systems are not necessarily any safer than handheld systems. In fact, some evidence suggests  using a hands-free device could actually take more of your focus away from the road. Since commercial truckers operate such large vehicles, there is a lot at stake when a collision occurs and it is very important for safety rules to do everything possible to reduce the chances that an accident will happen.

Preventing Truck Crashes By Prohibiting Electronic Devices

The FMCSA report revealed a truck driver was distracted by the use of a mobile communication device. As a result, he did not check properly to ensure the railroad tracks were clear before crossing the tracks. His distracted driving mistake allegedly led to a crash that derailed a 15-car freight train, which subsequently exploded.

Fleet Owner reports the National Transportation Safety Board expressed grave concerns about the FMCSA’s oversight failures and about the safety of motor carrier operators in light of the report on the train crash. The NTSB has made myriad recommendations in light of its own investigation, including passing tougher rules on the use of portable electronic devices.

The current laws prohibit truckers from using handheld electronics, but do not impose a broad ban on hands-free systems. The NTSB Acting Chairman expressed concern these rules could “mislead people to believe that ‘hands-free’ is as safe as not using a phone at all.” The reality is any distraction, including the use of a handheld device, could be the cause of a truck crash.

Because of the risks, the NTSB believes even the use of hands-free systems should not be allowed among commercial truckers who are operating commercial vehicles.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest banning hands-free and handheld electronic device use among commercial drivers could have a big impact on road safety. A report from Distraction.gov reveals around 81.5 percent of truck crashes reviewed in a research project involved driver distraction as a potential contributing factor. These distractions included:

  • Text messaging on a cell phone.
  • Complex tasks like cleaning a side mirror or looking through a grocery bag.
  • Interacting with a dispatch device.
  • Writing something down on a notepad or pad.
  • Using a calculator.
  • Looking at a map.
  • Dialing a cell phone.
  • Reading paperwork or other documents.
  • Personal grooming.
  • Looking back into the sleeper berth.

The bottom line is, any kind of distraction could potentially increase the risk of a truck crash. Reasonable steps should be taken to limit distractions, and a restriction on hands-free devices may be appropriate to increase public safety.

Contact Bell & Pollock at (877) 744-5900 to schedule a consultation with a truck accident in Denver, Greenwood Village and Steamboat Springs Colorado. 

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CASE: Client was injured by a drunk driver. As a result of the motor vehicle accident, client was rendered a quadriplegic and needed a life care plan.
Outcome: $9,600,000

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Outcome: $1,600,000

CASE: Medical malpractice for failure to diagnose a descending aorta aneurism, resulting in death.
Outcome: $1,300,000

CASE: Neck and back injuries from car accident. Client had ongoing symptoms and needed injections for attempted remediation of pain.
Settled for $485,000

CASE: Client was injured in a 2 vehicle collision. She suffered a traumatic brain injury, concussion and multiple injuries to the neck.
Outcome: $6,000,000

CASE: Client was in her car and was T-Boned by a commercial vehicle. Her cerebral spinal fluid leaked and she suffered a concussion and traumatic brain injury with neck and lumbar (low back) injuries. Her neck injury caused radiating pain, numbness and tingling in her arms.
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Outcome: $2,300,000

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Outcome: $950,000

CASE: Client was rear ended by a dump truck, was then knocked forward and hit another vehicle. Client had a concussion with traumatic brain injury. Client underwent a brain scan which showed hypoperfusion, correlated with her concussion symptoms. Client suffered neck injuries and injuries to her low back.
Outcome: $650,000

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Outcome: $1,250,000

CASE: Client was in a motor vehicle accident. Both injections in the neck rendered some temporary relief. The Injections were transforaminal epidural steroid injections. Surgery was recommended on the lumbar (low back). The low back was injured by the forces in the collisions.
Outcome: $933,000

CASE: The client was driving in her car and was rear-ended thereby causing injuries to her lower back and neck. Client also suffered a concussion. Client had to undergo facet injections multiple times, through multiple procedures. Client also had cognitive issues which required cognitive training and therapy.
Outcome: $400,000

CASE: Client was entering a highway from an on ramp and was rear-ended by a commercial van. Client tested positive for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and failed conservative treatment. Client underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgey, which involved removal of the first rib to attempt to relieve pressure in the thoracic outlet. Client also suffered a back injury.
Outcome: $750,000

CASE: Client was injured by a drunk driver, who crossed the center line of the road. Client underwent multiple surgeries and could not work. Client was late 40s and needed a modified life care plan.
Outcome: $750,000

CASE: Client was rear ended by a tow truck driver who was a diabetic. The diabetic at fault party was a non-compliant diabetic and claimed he had a syncope episode, and was “blacked out”. Client had a preexisting back condition known and the forces from the collision aggravated, or made worse, the preexisting back condition in addition to, causing neck injuries.
Outcome: $350,000

CASE: Client was a passenger in a car where the driver fell asleep on a country road in the early morning hours. The car rolled multiple times. Client had eye injuries, facial injuries and neck and knee injuries.
Outcome: $850,000

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Outcome: $150,000

CASE: Client slipped and fell on snow and ice in Central City. He suffered back injuries, that did not require injections.
Outcome: $125,000

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Outcome: $175,000

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Outcome: $150,000

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Outcome: $125,000

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Settled for $1,275,000

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