Distracted driving a potential cause in deadly truck crash
Accident investigators in Elizabethtown, KY are exploring whether distracted driving was a causal factor in a truck crash that left six dead and possibly contributed to a serious crash on the opposite side of the highway. According to a report from the AP, on March 2, 2013, a truck slammed into an SUV carrying 8 people on I-65. The crash killed 6 of the passengers in the SUV, with the ages of the deceased spanning from 92 to 8. The two survivors were age 15 and 12. All the passengers were members of an extended family.
It is believed that the initial deadly crash may have also been a trigger to a serious crash on the other side of the median, perhaps as those travelling in the opposite direction were focused on the initial crash -- rather than on the roadway in front of them.
According to news reports about the truck accident, police are reporting that the truck driver said that he (the truck driver) saw the SUV in front of him and that he hit the brakes, but that he did not apply them in time to avert a crash.
Distracted driving a real concern these days. To help address this increasingly dangerous and commonplace practice, the US government has set up a website aimed at raising awareness about the realities of distracted driving.
On the official US government website for distracted driving are some very concerning statistics:
- In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,267 in 2010. An additional, 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
- Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.
These very disturbing statistics are made all the more scary when considering that a big truck can weigh as much as 65,000 lbs.! Any truck driver behind the wheel of such a machine should be fully focused on the safe operation of the vehicle and not on sending messages or talking on the phone.
Limited Driving Hours
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets out guidelines that dictate how many hours a truck driver may operate his truck without a break or rest. Sadly, these service limitations are routinely violated by unscrupulous and unsafe truck drivers and companies. Often, these illegal acts are driven by greed, emphasizing profits over the safety of the driver and other travelers on the road.