The Dangers of Cell Phone Use While Driving

If you were asked ten years ago to imagine an activity we as a society could invent that would cause more motor vehicle accidents and more fatalities than drunk driving one would be hard to believe what it would be.

truckers banned from texting

That, however, is what we have done with the smartphone and text messaging. Business people rushing from meeting to meeting, mothers and fathers driving their children to and from activities, and high school and college-age young adults, some with less than one year of driving experience are all freely talking on and texting with their smartphone devices as if they are at no additional risk.


Almost 90% of all young drivers use their cell phones while driving and most are dangerously distracted.


The Statistics


According to The National Safety Council around 25% of all motor vehicle accidents are caused by texting and driving and using a cell phone accounts for 1.6 million crashes and 330,000 injuries each year. Texting is the leading cause of distracted driving in 78% of the 421,000 distracted driver accidents.



As recently as 2016 a driver is about six times more likely to have an accident while texting than if the driver was legally intoxicated. Reacting to a text message or notification takes a driver’s eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds while it takes only 3 seconds for a traffic accident to occur.


At 55 mph a driver travels about 100 yards during the 5 seconds it takes to glance at their smartphone and read a one-line text message.


Young Adults are Particularly Vulnerable


Almost 90% of all teens bring their phone to school and use them in the car coming from school. Every day 11 teens are killed in texting-related motor vehicle accidents.


The odds of a texting teen having an accident is four times greater than an adult. Most teens do not agree that they are putting their lives in danger by texting while driving. Teens report veering off of the road or veering into the oncoming lane of traffic approximately 10% of the time they are driving.


In a town with 500 high school drivers, that is 50 drivers per day that swerve off of the road because of texting, a staggering statistic. Police are pulling over people driving recklessly and veering off the road or into the other lane with increasing frequency, suspecting that the driver is drunk only to find a sober, yet texting driver.


What is Being Done?


As of August, 2017 a Texas statewide ban on texting while driving we be in effect and enforced. Law enforcement will be looking for drivers whose heads are down or veer out of their lane as an indication they may be texting.


A Texas driver can still text while stopped at a red light and use GPS navigation and listen to music. The penalty for texting while driving is $99 and increases to $200 for a second offense.


Police officers also now inquire about cell phone use in every reported accident in Texas. Insurance companies will follow in rating costs of auto policies if a driver has a history of cell use in an accident or a ticket for texting.


Commercial Drivers and Texting


Professional truckers are restricted using cell phones while driving a commercial vehicle. A rule applicable to motor carriers and drivers restricts a commercial driver while driving a big rig from holding a mobile device to make a call or dialing by pressing more than a single button. Commercial motor vehicle drivers can only use a cell phone with hands-free operation. Texting is forbidden.


Fines for commercial motor vehicles are substantially higher than those involving regular drivers in Texas. Further, the driver can be disqualified for multiple violations.




How to Avoid Blind Spot Accidents




What is the Blind Spot? A blind spot is a place in either lane adjacent to the one being driven in at an approximately 45-degree angle to the driver where neither the side view or rear-view mirror picks up the presence of another motor vehicle.

Big Truck Blind Spots

When changing lanes in either direction the driver is required to “head check,” i.e., take their eyes off of the road in front for a second or two and to look to see if a car is obstructing their turn.   As the nation’s highway systems expand more lanes are added making them more dangerous to motorists wishing to change lanes. It is not uncommon for interstate highways to run five or more lanes in each direction.


Switching lanes to pass a slower vehicle or to get on the off-ramp lane puts the motorist in danger of colliding with another car that may be traveling in the driver’s blind spot. Nearly 1 million accidents occur each year due to a driver making a lane switch without first checking to see if another automobile is in their blind spot.


No driver is immune to the risk of blind spot accidents. Failing to check the blind spot before making a lane switch can cause serious, even fatal automobile accidents and none are more serious than those that involve an automobile and a commercial vehicle.


Blind Spots and 18-Wheelers


Most accidents involving 18-wheelers happen because the 18-wheeler has several large blind spots and the driver of a smaller motor vehicle operator unaware of the big rig’s unique safety requirements.

Tractor-trailer blind spots

A tractor-trailer’s blind spot extends the entire right side of the trailer and there is no way for a commercial driver to head check to see if another vehicle is occupying that space.


A motorist to be aware of this and never travel or attempt to pass an 18-wheeler on the right, even in slow-moving traffic.  Avoiding blind spot accidents there are several safety tips to help a driver minimize the chances of being involved in a blind spot accident.

Blind spots exist for all big trucks, including dump trucks, garbage trucks, tanker trucks and tractor-trailers.


First is to drive within the speed limit designed to maximize a driver’s ability to avoid potential collisions.


Second is to know that other drivers have blind spots also and minimize the time spent in them to only a brief second while passing. Also, do a physical head check to make sure that another driver traveling in the blind spot can be seen.


Blind Spots for Cars


The blind spot can be eliminated for drivers of automobiles according to the University of Wisconsin on their motor vehicle science safety page, the mirrors on all late-model motor vehicles can be adjusted as follows to eliminate the blind spot.  “The first step is to adjust the rear-view mirror to do exactly that – give you a view directly to the rear. Position it so that it best covers your view straight out the rear window. Don’t bother tilting it to one side or the other to assist with your view of traffic to either side of your car. That’s what the side mirrors are for.


Next, lean your head until it almost touches the driver’s side window. Then, adjust your left side mirrors so you can just barely see the side of your car and no more than that.


Lean your head to the right towards the middle of the car and adjust the right-side mirror so you can just barely see the right side of your car. You should NOT be able to see the side of your car when your head is upright. Why would you want to? When was the last time your own car ran into itself?


Check for blind spots by doing: While driving along a four-lane road in the right lane, note a vehicle in the left lane coming up to pass you from behind.


Without moving your head, glance in the rear-view mirror and follow it as it approaches your car in the left lane. Just before it disappears from your view in the rear-view mirror, glance to the left side mirror. There it is.


Now follow that vehicle in the side mirror as it passes you. Then, just before it disappears from the side mirror, see it with your peripheral vision. Notice that without even turning your head, you never had a blind-spot. Then try it with the right-side mirror. Watch as you pass a vehicle traveling in the right lane go from your peripheral vision to your right-side mirror, to your rear-view mirror.


Again, no blind-spot. If there is a blind spot for even a fraction of a second, your side mirror adjustment needs fine-tuning.”


With all the advice given for adjusting the mirrors to pick up a motor vehicle in the blind spot, a quick head check is an additional assurance you may change lanes safely.

For driving on the roadway near a tractor-trailer, be aware of the areas around the big rig that are blind spots and try to avoid being in these areas for any length of time.

If you are in a blind spot accident call the Texas truck wreck specialists Toll Free 1-866-758-4529.

Things to do After Being in an Accident with a Commercial Vehicle



Provide First Aid and Call 911


A person should know what to do in the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle accident involving a big truck. Big trucks can be large box package delivery trucks, tankers carrying liquids, garbage trucks and big rigs sometimes called 18-wheelers. Due to the sheer size, weight, and momentum of large trucks, the injuries suffered by other vehicles can be most catastrophic. A big rig jack knifing on an interstate highway at 80 miles per hour can involve dozens of cars and result in mass casualties.


Do Not Leave the Scene


If you are involved in an accident with a large truck, the first thing to remember is to stay at the scene and do not leave. There are severe penalties in Texas for leaving the scene of an accident where another person was injured or killed. If it is safe and a person can get out of their car, the person should administer first aid to anyone in need and also call 911 to alert the police and to get immediate medical assistance.


After you have helped others to the extent, you are capable and called 911 the next thing you need to do is to accept the ambulance ride to the local hospital’s emergency room. Your injuries may be apparent but sometimes they are not and do not materialize for days or weeks to come. Getting immediate medical attention will also serve to document your initial pain and problems. Above all, remember to give large trucks plenty of room and don’t expect them to see you.


Call a Personal Injury Lawyer with Trucking Accident Experience


Big truck drivers are on a tight schedule and pushed to the limit to deliver their cargo as fast as they can. Time is money, and the faster they can do the job the more money their company makes. Drivers often drive for long hours without rest and can fall asleep at the wheel.


A commercial driver can also drive recklessly and over the speed limit to get to their destination quickly. Companies with trucks on the road must maintain detailed logs of their driver’s activities. If you are involved in an accident with a big truck, you need to call a personal injury attorney to secure important evidence as soon as possible.




Pick a lawyer who specializes in commercial vehicles as they will have the expertise to move your case quickly along without having to learn on the job.


Watch What You Say


From a legal standpoint, answer the questions that the police put to you, but be careful what you say to the truck driver.

Remember, truck insurance adjusters, including those from your own insurance company, will in some cases rush to the scene to assess the damages that their companies may be liable. Insurance agents and adjusters work for the insurance company, not you, and their job is to reduce or eliminate paying out claims.

As a general rule the less you say to them the better and let your injury lawyer do the talking for you.


After calling 911, call an experienced and knowledgeable big rig accident attorney. You may have to sue the truck company and driver for reimbursement of medical expenses lost wages, pain, and suffering and other legal damages.


Electric Semi-Trucks and the Expansion of the Use of Electric Trucks


Electric 18-wheelers

A person need only turn on a cable news channel and view for a reasonable period before seeing a report about electric vehicles. From hybrids to all-electric derivations, the age of the electric motor vehicle is upon us.


One area in which electric vehicles are almost nonexistence is in the semi-truck arena. Industry analysts have started to speculate that the time in which commercial electric semi-trucks will be in wider use. With this in mind, there are some essential considerations you need to bear in mind when it comes to electric semi-trucks.


The Virtual Nonuse of Electric Semi-trucks Today


At this juncture in the 21st century, electric semi-trucks are almost nonexistent in the United States and other locations around the world. There are a few key reasons why electric semi-trucks are not being fully utilized today.


First, the costs associated with manufacturing an electric semi-truck are significant. With that understood, the cost associated with producing electric semi-trucks eventually are expected to decrease when more of the vehicles made.


Second, because semi-trucks typically are intended for extended trips, better battery life and increasing limited recharging opportunities when on the road will lead to more companies using electric rigs.


History of Electric Trucks: The Milk Float


Although the utilization of electric semi-trucks has been next to none, electric trucks of different types have been in use. In some cases, these types of vehicles have used very successfully.


During the 20th century, the vast majority of electric trucks in operation were in the U.K. and were known as milk floats. Indeed, at this juncture of the 21st century, when it comes to electric trucks, U.S. milk floats play a key role.


Electric milk floats are the trucks the deliver milk in the U.K. With all the stops and starts of a milk float making its rounds, electric, as opposed to a combustion engine proves far more efficient.


The Port of Los Angeles


An electric semi-truck experimental project is ongoing at the Port of Los Angeles. At the Port of Los Angeles, electric semi-trucks move fully loaded cargo containers relatively short distances. Because these containers do not need to be moved very far, the range does not enter the equation. The use of electric semi-trucks has a reduced energy consumption and will be cost effective for trucking companies when initial costs come down, and infrastructure for recharging exists.


Once the dual issues of manufacturing cost and battery charge lifespan are solved, the use of electric semi-trucks is expected to increase rapidly.  Also safety issues are expected to me minimized with the elimination of diesel on future big rigs.


In fact, several auto manufacturers have recently announced that all new vehicles will be electric in just a few years.


Visit our Houston 18- Wheeler accident page:


Tanker Truck Rollover Prevention Tactics and Strategies



Rollover accidents involving tanker trucks can result in very serious injuries and even fatalities. These injuries often are sustained to not only the driver of a tanker truck but other motorists that end up involved in a collision that arises from a rollover.


Nearly 80 percent of all tanker truck rollover accidents involve some element of driver error. With this in mind, there are some tactics and strategies that should be utilized, to prevent tanker rollover accidents.


Avoid Sudden Movements


A primary strategy to employ to prevent a tanker truck rollover accident is avoiding sudden changes. For example, a tanker truck driver should leave plenty of room between his or her rig and other vehicles. A rollover can occur when a tanker truck driver must make some defensive move to avoid another vehicle making an improper maneuver on a roadway.


Identify Risk Areas on Roadways and Routes


A tanker truck driver is wide to be proactive. One strategy to employ to avoid a tanker truck rollover accident is to identify potential risk areas on roadways of planned travel routes. For example, courses that include more challenging turns, or steep downward grades, should be identified in advance. These are two types of roadway hazards that can enhance the risk of a rollover accident.


By planning a driver is aware of what will be faced on a trip. Trip planning also includes having the ability to plan an alternate route if the initial course may appear too hazardous.


Control Speed


Another key strategy to avoid a tanker truck rollover accident is to control speed. Speed control is critical particularly is the case when a truck will be on a roadway with steep downgrades.


A driver also needs to leave ample room between other vehicles. Leaving an assured clear distance between vehicles will better ensure that a tanker truck driver will not have to make a sudden decrease in speed, which can result in a rollover accident.


Contact a tanker truck accident lawyer or visit our Houston tanker truck accident webpage.






Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:



What can be Obtained in an Early Investigation of a Tractor-Trailer Accident?

investigating a truck wreck

The early investigation of an accident involving a tractor-trailer and an automobile is crucial to pursuing a successful claim for compensation. There are number of important benefits derived by initiating an early investigation of a tractor-trailer and automobile collision.

Access to the Record of Duty Log

One of the key pieces of evidence that can be accessed via an early accident investigation is access to what is known as the “record of duty.” A truck driver and a trucking company are only required to maintain a record of duty for up to six months, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The record of duty contains information that can be crucial to making a negligence claim against a tractor-trailer driver. For example, the record of duty includes a log of a driver’s route. It includes a list of all stops made during the course of a trip. With this information, a person making a claim arising from a commercial truck and automobile accident can determine if the big rig operator was speeding.

The log will also set forth how long a driver has been operating a tractor-trailer. A commercial truck driver is permitted to operate a tractor-trailer for a maximum of 11 hours, with 10 consecutive hours off duty between trips. The record of duty will demonstrate whether a big rig driver is in compliance with this regulation.

A prompt investigation of an accident can reveal evidence to support a tractor-trailer driver that was speeding or fatigued while operating a big rig. Speeding and fatigue represent two of the most common underlying causes of tractor-trailer accidents in Texas and across the United States.

Important Computer Data (Black Box)

Many tractor-trailers are outfitted with what technically are known as electronic control modules, better known as a black box. It is crucial to obtain the data from the black box immediately after an accident. The failure to do so can result in the black box being unavailable. In addition, if the truck is put back into service, the data on the black box can be overwritten. Losing the data on a black box can result in a person involved in a tractor-trailer accident lacking vital evidence in a claim.

Properly Documenting the Accident Scene

An early investigation of a tractor-trailer accident by a quick response team ensures that the collision scene is documented properly. This includes videoing and photographing the scene. Properly documenting the accident scene also involves identifying witnesses and obtaining statements from them. The evidence that can be derived from an early and proper documentation of an accident scene can make the difference between a successful or a failed claim for compensation following an accident with a commercial truck.

The Defense Will Have Their Team On-Site

Most major trucking companies and many of the insurance carriers for motor carriers maintain teams to respond quickly after an accident has been reported. Generally, the teams include an expert witness, an attorney and representatives from the insurance company.

It is been our experience that on the most serious of tractor-trailer accidents, the defense team is on site within 24 hours. For many wrongful death cases the defense team is securing important evidence within hours after learning of the crash.

Select an Award Winning Specialist Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney

It is important to choose the right attorney for your case. Spending a little time to research the attorneys track record in tractor-trailer crash cases and the makeup of their practice can greatly enhance your chances of a successful experience through the lawsuit.

Search for attorneys whose practice centers around truck accident litigation and avoid others who handle a myriad of business disputes and general litigation.

Call us for no obligation consultation- Toll Free 1-866-758-4529.




Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration –

Strategies for Eliminating Distracted Commercial Truck Driving

In the state of Texas, and elsewhere in the United States, distracted driving is a major underlying cause of accidents. Indeed, thousands of people are injured annually across the country in distracted driver commercial truck accidents. There are some specific strategies that can be employed to eliminated distracted driving by big rig operators.

Do Not Multitask and Never Text

A fundamental strategy to employ to lessen the chance of distracted driving is to avoid multitasking. This includes talking on the phone, adjusting the radio, or even texting. Eating and drinking should also be avoided while operating a commercial truck. Texting and driving a commercial truck will not only get you a ticket, but is also 23 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event.

Cell Phone Use

Studies show that drivers are 6 times more likely to become involved in a critical even when dialing a cell phone. The FMCSA has also passed rules restricting how a cellphone can be dialed by a trucker.

Keep Focused

A second key strategy to utilize to lessen the risk of distracted driving is to maintain a sharp focus. A big rig operator needs to avoid anything that takes the focus off driving. This means actively scanning the road, including taking advantage of a truck’s mirrors.

Adjust Before Starting to Drive

Another tactic to use to lower the driver distraction is to make all adjustments before getting on the road. This includes everything from prepping the GPS, setting the radio, adjusting mirrors, climate control, and other things. This should be avoided while driving whenever possible.

Snack Smartly

As noted previously, eating and drinking should be avoided while driving. In addition, a driver should eat healthy snacks before and after a trip. In addition, snacking can occur when breaks are taking while driving, during breaks for fueling and other purposes.

Personal Grooming

A surprising number of rig drivers engage in grooming, and even dressing, while driving. Grooming and dressing should be completed before a big rig driver gets behind the wheel.

Driving While Fatigued

37% of all commercial truck drivers report that they have nodded off, or fallen completely asleep, behind the wheel. Fatigue is classified as a major driving distraction. Even if a driver does not nod off, fatigue prevents a commercial truck driver from being fully connected to the important task of operating a commercial truck.

Properly Address Emergencies

If some sort of emergency occurs, the first step to take is to pull to the side of the road and contact appropriate emergency personnel. Even the use of hands-free devices while driving can cause a driver to become distracted.


Another strategy to employ to avoid distracted driving is to make sure all items carried in the cab of a truck properly are stowed. Items that are loose, and even rolling around inside the cab, can prove to be distracted and dangerous.

Contact a Truck Wreck Attorney in Houston

If you have questions about a commercial vehicle accident, call our Houston trucking accident law firm for a consultation about your rights and options.

(281) 893-0760 24/7

Smart IQ Beat:

Common Defenses in Trucking Accident Cases

Texas has the highest number of trucking accident injuries in the nation. More people are injured or killed in the greater Houston area than any other place in Texas.

attorney for trucking accident

The truth of the matter is that trucking companies carry commercial insurance policies that protect them against personal injury claims. Many of these companies have truck accident quick response teams they sent to accident sites to help defend their case.

How Truck Drivers and Insurance Companies Defend Claims

Despite what many people believe, the fact that a truck driver gets a ticket because of the accident does not mean that the insurance company concedes liability. In fact, many insurance companies use the tactic of telling the injured victim that the insurance company “accepts liability” or “accept responsibility,” only to dispute liability once a lawsuit is filed.

Statements by the adjuster and even written documentation of accepting responsibility do not bind the insurance company to stipulate liability in the case.

Here are some of the common claims that trucking companies and their insurers use to defend cases:

  • The injured person was the person really at fault or partially at fault.
  • A phantom or “unidentified” other driver is responsible or partly responsible for the accident.
  • The crash was simply an accident, and the truck driver acted reasonably and should not be held accountable.
  • The plaintiff (the injured person) has not proved the case or damages.
  • The plaintiff was not injured in the accident or is exaggerating his or her injuries.
  • The medical treatment required for the victim was not reasonable or necessary to treat them for injuries sustained in the accident.
  • The plaintiff has not proved his or her lost wages.

In short, insurance companies for truck drivers almost always dispute liability in court and always dispute damages. Some adjusters try to infer that you do not need an attorney in the hopes that you will delay and hurt your case before you will hire the attorney you need.

Consult with A Leading Truck Accident Attorney in Houston

If you are family member has been injured in a Houston truck accident, consult with a reputable truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash.

Study after study has shown that people who hire a good attorney net more money than handling a case on their own. Not to mention the stress, worry and work of trying to handle a legal claim without representation.

To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with truck wreck attorney Greg Baumgartner call us at (281) 893-0760 or fill out the online consultation form.

The Impact of Competition in the Trucking Industry on Safety

A variety of factors has enhanced competition in the trucking industry in recent years. Deregulation has a significant impact on the industry, resulting in increased competition. Also, the implementation of NAFTA has expanded the utilization of big rigs to transport cargo in the United States, and across North America.

Many people proclaim that there are significant benefits associated with deregulation of the trucking industry and the implementation of NAFTA. Indeed, there are trucking industry analysts that maintain that increased competition between companies is beneficial in some ways, including for consumers.

With that note, not everything is rosy in the aftermath of increased competition among trucking businesses in the United States, and specifically in the state of Texas. The stark reality is that that increased competition in the trucking industry in recent years has raised concerns about safety compliance.

Competition of “Efficient” Delivery of Goods

One area in which competition in the trucking industry significantly intensified is regarding the more “efficient” delivery of goods. In the trucking industry, efficiency equates with the speed of delivery.

In the grand scheme of things, the need to more quickly deliver goods via commercial truck transit has resulted in very real concerns regarding safety issues. These include big rig operators driving at rates above the speed limit or too fast for prevailing conditions.

Not Enough Qualified Drivers

The competition for drivers has never been as fierce as it is today.

One simply has to listen to the radio for numerous adds looking for truck drivers to know there is a shortage of good drivers.

With many trucking companies paying sign up bonuses for the best drivers, many companies are having trouble filling jobs with experienced drivers.

Pressure on Drivers Leads to Speeding

A primary cause of commercial truck accidents is speeding or driving at a speed beyond what is prudent for prevailing conditions, particularly weather conditions.

Industry competition prods many commercial operators to drive at unsafe rates of speed with alarming regularity. Consequently, the number of speed-related commercial truck accidents has increased.

Driver fatigue is another leading cause of commercial truck accidents in Texas and across the United States. Another means by which a trucking company theoretically can obtain a competitive edge is by keeping drivers on the road for longer periods of time.

Drivers get away with this safety violation usually by not keeping accurate log books.

Currently, a driver is required to take a prescribed break after operating a rig for 10 hours. By ignoring or stretching, this mandate, a few trucking companies believe they can obtain a competitive edge over the competition through quicker transit and delivery of a load.

As an aside, elongated periods of time on the roadway also results in commercial truck drivers utilizing substances thought to aid them in staying awake.

The use of these drugs can also have dangerous consequences when it comes to roadway safety.

Truck Accidents and Roadway Lighting

In the state of Texas, on average about 15,000 accidents involving commercial trucks, or semis, occur each year. About 2,300 of these accidents result in serious injuries. Additionally, between 250 and 300 people die in traffic collisions involving big rigs each year.

Some different tactics are being explored to reduce the number of accidents involving commercial trucks, in Texas and across the United States. One strategy that can lower the number of 18-wheeler accidents is installing more roadway lighting and improving the lighting that currently exists on streets and highways.

General Facts About Nighttime Driving

75% of miles driven in Texas, and elsewhere in the United States, occur during daylight hours. Only 25% of driving happens in the darkness of night. With that noted, the nighttime fatality rate is three times greater than that in the daytime. Accidents involving serious injuries spike upwards at a similar rate on dark, nighttime roadways.

Operating a big rig truck, or any other type of motor vehicle is primarily a visual task. Lack of light significantly diminishes a driver’s ability to identify roadway obstacles, observe other drivers, and operate a vehicle, including a commercial truck, in the safest possible manner.

Roadway Safety and the Addition of Lights

The U.S. Department of Labor has aggregated some studies that underscore the significant safety benefits associated with installing or improving, lighting on roadways. These studies report that addition of lighting on highways can reduce collisions upwards to 50%.

Also, these studies indicate that the incidence of fatal accidents is cut almost in half with the installation of better lights on the highways.

These studies have been conducted not only in the United States but other countries around the world. The results have been similar, all showing a reduction in accidents when roadway lighting is in place.

Cost-Effective Safety Enhancement

There do exist other strategies that can be employed to reduce the incidence of nighttime accidents involving commercial trucks. These include everything from actual road design alterations to enhanced monitoring of drivers.

In the final analysis, the addition of roadway lighting proves to be the most cost-effective alternative.

For example, road reconstruction and reconfiguration is highly costly. The net effect of this type of effort does not yield the same reduction in collisions as does lighting installation, which itself is significantly less expensive.

Better or more enhanced monitoring of drivers might prove cheaper than light installation. However, the reduction in collisions through this type of effort does not rise to the level of what achieved through with roadway lighting.

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