Most people think of a teenager when imagining who texts while driving. While it is true that teenagers are notorious for rule-breaking and being totally reliant on their phones for socialization, they aren’t necessarily the most dangerous texters on the road.
That dubious honor belongs to commercial drivers who pick up their phones to text at the wheel. Although they may have more experience driving than a teenager does, they are in control of a much larger and more dangerous vehicle. The time it takes for them to set down their phone and attempt to maneuver the truck might be all it takes to cause a crash.
Given that people in the smaller vehicles are the ones who often suffer the worst injuries in trucking crashes, are there rules in place to prevent commercial drivers from texting at the wheel?
Florida bans manual texting for all drivers
Florida has a state law that specifically prohibits the manual use of phones while driving. People should not check email, post to social media or type out a text message while driving. Police can and do pull people over and cite them for texting at the wheel.
However, given that many truckers drive through multiple different states, it’s theoretically possible that a commercial driver in Florida might not know about the state law banning texts.
Commercial drivers know about the Federal rule against texting
The federal government does not have a law about people in passenger vehicles texting while driving. However, it does have rules about the use of mobile devices by commercial drivers. There is a no-texting rule that applies to any manual use of mobile phones and similar devices.
Drivers caught in violation of these rules can face fines, and repeat offenders might even lose their eligibility for commercial driving. Unfortunately, driving for hours at a time is a boring and isolating job. Truckers may want to communicate with loved ones to help protect their relationships. They may also struggle with boredom, which may make the sounds of a notification too hard to ignore.
Those hurt by truckers in violation of the law may have grounds to seek compensation for any injuries they suffer, as well as for the costs of property damage from the crash.