Operating a commercial truck safely requires focused attention for every moment the vehicle is in motion, and especially while traveling on highways at high speeds. Unfortunately, not every truck driver adheres to this rule, sometimes leading to serious accidents that result in immense physical and financial harm.
Texting and driving truck accidents in State College can be grounds for a settlement demand or lawsuit, but you may have trouble getting a fair case result without professional legal guidance. If a truck driver caused you to suffer injuries because he or she was looking at his or her phone instead of at the road, you may want to speak with a State College truck wreck attorney before trying to pursue civil litigation by yourself.
Texting While Driving Laws for Truck Drivers
75 P.S. §3316 prohibits all drivers in State College from sending, writing, or reading text messages while operating a motor vehicle on public roads. For commuter car operators, a violation of this statute is punishable by a $50 fine but will not result in any points being added to anyone’s driving record.
However, the rule applicable to commercial drivers in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States is established at the federal level and is even more strict. According to FMCSA regulations, any tractor-trailer operator who texts, uses the Internet, or engages in any use of wireless electronic communication other than making or answering a phone call with a single button-press is subject to a $2,750 fine and a lengthy suspension of his or her commercial driver’s license.
Either way, texting behind the wheel is a violation of the duty of care commercial drivers owe to others around them, which requires them to follow all state and federal laws that govern the use and operation of their vehicles. Accordingly, any truck driver who texts while driving and subsequently gets into an accident in State College would almost certainly be at fault for that accident, meaning he or she or his or her employer would be financially liable for damages.
Is a Texting Driver Always Liable for an Ensuing Crash?
While texting and driving is a negligent act, the fact that someone involved in a wreck was texting behind the wheel does not automatically make that person 100 percent to blame for the incident in question. There must be a causal link between the negligent act (distracted driving) and the occurrence of the collision. If a victim injured in a texting while driving truck crash in State College was acting negligently prior to the collision, he or she could be found partially responsible for his or her own damages.
Under 42 P.S.§7102, any civil plaintiff assigned a percentage of fault for his or her injuries is subject to a proportional reduction in his or her final damage award based on that percentage. Additionally, if a plaintiff’s percentage of fault exceeds 50 percent, he or she is ineligible to recover any compensation whatsoever. Helping to contest allegations of comparative fault is just one of many crucial services a skilled lawyer in the area could provide following this kind of accident.
Explore Legal Options after a State College Texting and Driving Truck Accident
If a big rig operator is texting while driving and causes a wreck that results in injuries, he or she or his or her employer could be on the hook for significant civil compensation. That being said, even claims based on strong grounds can be difficult to manage without support from a legal professional who has helped others through similar situations in the past.