Are Distracted Driving Laws Different for Truckers?

truck looking at his phone while driving

Truckers are placed under higher scrutiny than the general population of motorists, especially when it comes to distracted driving. This is because of the increased liability that comes with operating a large commercial vehicle. If a truck driver is involved in an accident while distracted, the potential for severe damage and injuries is much greater.

Distracted Driving Dangers

Research by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has shown that truckers who engage in texting while driving are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event, such as an accident or lane-drift. The study also found that drivers using their mobile devices while operating their commercial motor vehicle (CMV) took their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. A truck driving at 55 miles per hour can cover 371 feet, or two football fields, in that time. Other distractions and their probability for danger include:

  • Interacting with their dispatch device – 9.9% higher.
  • Using a calculator – 8.2% higher.
  • Looking at a map – 7.0% higher.
  • Reaching for another electronic device – 6.7% higher.

No-Texting Rule

Due to the prevalence and increased risk that texting and driving poses than other forms of distractions, the FMCSA published a rule prohibiting CMV drivers from using mobile devices while operating their vehicle. Under the rule, the FMCSA can penalize:

  • The truck driver, if caught texting while driving.
  • The employer, if found to either allow or require the use of a mobile device while their driver operates a CMV.


Whereas a typical motorist caught texting-and-driving in North Carolina may receive a fine of $100 and court fees, the penalties for truckers and their employers are more costly.

Truck DriverUp to $2,750 and CDL disqualification
EmployerUp to $11,000

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Disqualification

The FMCSA has the authority to disqualify a CMV driver for at least 60 days should they obtain two convictions of texting while driving within a three-year period. If convicted three or more times in the same period, the FMCSA can disqualify the driver for at least 120 days.

Your Wilmington Trucking Accident Attorneys

With almost four decades of combined experience, the attorneys at Daniel, Holoman & Associates LLP have been committed to fighting for their clients’ rights and securing their deserved compensation following a trucking accident. The Wilmington-based trucking accident attorneys are dedicated to representing you through your trucking accident claim and obtaining your justice.

If you have sustained injuries due to a trucking accident, feel free to call our office today at (866) 380-2281 or fill out this form online for a free consultation.

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