Study Finds Truckers That Text While Driving Increase Crash Risk 23 Times | Dallas, Texas Personal Injury Attorney Blog

A new study that is scheduled to be released tomorrow shows that drivers of commercial trucks that text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in an automobile accident that drivers that do not engage in driving while texting (DWT). This is the first study of the relationship between the distraction drivers of 18 wheelers incur when they drive while texting or when they use of cell phones while driving.

The study was conducted by the Virgina Tech Transportation Institute and financed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration which has as its mission promoting and improving the safety in the operation of buses and commercial trucks. The study involved outfitting long-haul trucks (interstate18 wheelers) with video cameras that monitored the actions of the drivers and of the truck during an 18 month period. It is certainly no surprise that the activity of driving while texting is a dangerous behavior or that it increases the risk of being in a crash. After all, driving while texting is a behavior, which by definition, that involves distracting the driver from his or her primary focus of watching the road and maintaining control over the truck. The study shows that the risk of being in a car wreck not only sharply exceeds previous estimates based on laboratory research, but it and far surpasses the dangers of other driving distractions. Rich Hanowski, who oversaw the study, characterized the level of distraction that driving while texting by saying that compared to other distractions, “texting is in its own universe of risk.” In light of these findings, it is no surprise that Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech institute, one of the world’s largest vehicle safety research organizations, echoed the feelings that our website has been saying for some time now. Mr. Dingus said the study’s message was clear. “You should never do this [driving while texting], and “It should be illegal.”

Sadly, only 14 states have made driving while texting illegal while other states continue to say that they need more data and more research before they decide to make it illegal. The problem with this wait and see approach is not only are more people going to be killed and seriously injured in an accident that could have been prevented or minimized, but that until the conduct is illegal most police agencies that investigate collisions do not gather or report information on accidents that are believed to have caused because the driver was distracted because he or she was driving while texting using a cell phone.

One of the most revealing findings that is being released from the study is that, “In the moments before a crash or near crash, drivers typically spent nearly five seconds looking at their devices – enough time at typical highway speeds to cover more than the length of a football field.” In other words, drivers traveling at highway speeds lose at least 5 seconds of precious time to react to hazards and to reduce their speed in order to minimize the damage and forces involved when there is a collision.

Just recently, we saw locally how dangerous driving while texting can be for drivers of an 18 wheeler. As our blog reported, a chain reaction collision involving 9 vehicles, including an 18 wheeler has left two people dead and seven more injured in Gainseville, Texas along northbound Interstate 35 (I-35). According to reports, traffic was backed up and flowing slowly due to construction on Interstate 35 when Randy Crume, the driver of a semi truck failed to control speed and struck the rear of the stopped traffic causing multiple collisions. Fort Worth residents, Gervious Hinkle and his 13-year-old grandson Casey Ishak were both killed in the crash. Read the entire post in our blog under 18 Wheeler Accidents: 18 Wheeler Involved in Deadly Wreck In Gainseville: Possible Driving While Texting.

The results of the Virginia Tech study were somewhat surprising because the findings were so much greater than the findings of a University of Utah study of college students who drove a simulator while textings. In the Utah study of college students, the study found that the risk of crash was increased 8 times when the students were driving while texting as compared to when they were not texting. While the difference in the risk in these studies is significant, David Strayer of the University of Utah emphasized that “You’re off the charts in both cases. It’s crazy to be doing it.” As we all know, the problem is that so many people are doing it, and doing it so often. According to CTLA (a cellular telephone industry trade group), in December of 2008, phone users in the United States sent 110 billion messages, a tenfold increase in just three years.

Even though trucks take longer to stop and are less maneuverable than cars, the findings generally applied to all drivers, who tend to exhibit the same behaviors as the more than 100 truckers studied, the researchers said. Truckers, they said, do not appear to text more or less than typical car drivers, but they said the study did not compare use patterns that way.

Let’s hope that our state legislatures and that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Congress get the message we are sending. Driving While Texting is extra-ordinarly dangerous and needs to be illegal in all fifty states.

The Montes Herald Law Group, L.L.P. is a law firm with offices in Irving and Dallas Texas. We are experienced and qualified attorneys who dedicate our practice to the representation of personal injury victims, including victims of car accidents, premises liability claims, insurance and bad faith claims, construction accidents and other cases where people are severely injured through the negligence and reckless conduct of others. Please visit our website at for more information concerning our law firm and Rachel Montes.


  1. Edmundo Greenway on June 15, 2012 at 11:16 am

    terrific site.

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