Houston, TX- A report by the National Traffic Safety Board attributed the cause of an accident last July in which a motorist’s vehicle plunged into the Chesapeake Bay to distracted driving and inexperience on behalf of the driver.
A tractor-trailer driven by a Canadian man on his first assignment rammed into a vehicle driven by Morgan Lake. Her car was pushed on a concrete barrier where it teetered before taking a 27 foot plunge into the water below. Lake escaped from her vehicle through a shattered window and was able to swim to pier which she hung onto until she could be rescued.
The NTSB report states that the driver was looking into his rearview mirror just moments before the crash. That along with his speed and lack of familiarity with traffic patterns on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge caused the accident, the Washington Post reported.
The report said. “He (the truck driver) said that when he looked forward again, he saw that traffic was stopped, and he attempted to avoid colliding with the Chrysler by moving to the left.”
In the 60 seconds leading up to the accident, the truck driver accelerated from 8 to 51 mph and as he took his eyes of traffic in front of him to look into his rear view mirror traffic had come to an almost complete stop.
This report shows the dangers of driving a large commercial truck while distracted. Tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks are so large and heavy that it takes much longer for a driver to stop their vehicle when traffic slows or comes to a stop.
In 4.6 seconds, the average time it takes to send text message, a vehicle traveling 55 mph can travel the length of a football field and in those few seconds traffic conditions can change drastically.
Last year, the National Safety Council, as part of their campaign to raise awareness of distracted driving released the results of study aimed at determining the distracted driving habits of commercial fleets.
The study, reported by Trucking Info, found that cell phone usage, including hands-free, was common among distracted truck drivers; this is true for other motorists as well. Twenty-seven percent of distracted drivers used their cell phones to talk or text while behind the wheel.
Eating and drinking were also common distractions.
Interestingly, the study found that of the top five percent of distracted truck drivers, 79 percent engaged in risky driving behaviors such as speeding.
No motorists regardless of what the vehicle they are in control of should be driving while distracted. But because commercial trucks are much larger than passenger vehicles there is a greater risk that a distracted driving accident will result in serious or deadly injuries.
Truck accident victims who are injured or have lost a loved one because of distracted truck driver are advised to contact a Houston truck accident attorney to discuss their accident. In many cases, the victims are entitled to compensation which can be maximized with the assistance of a truck accident attorney.