A Florida truck driver is shown looking down at his cellphone for several seconds in dash cam video before he swerves and rolls off a highway overpass. When the driver looks up from his phone a car had changed lanes, entering his lane. Because he was distracted by the phone, he did not see the lane switch and could not stop in time to avoid hitting the car. Instead, he swerves his truck to the right, strikes a barrier, and rolls off the overpass onto the road below. He was carrying recycled materials in his truck and some of the materials spilled out into the road, causing other drivers to strike it. No other drivers were injured, but the truck driver did sustain serious injuries.
Federal law bans commercial drivers, including semi-truck drivers, from using cell phones or texting while they are operating the truck. Many states also have similar laws for all drivers, including 46 states that have banned text messaging for all drivers. Two states ban text messaging for young drivers, and another state bans only school bus drivers from texting.
Because texting and cell phone use while driving has increased in recent years, as have the incidents of wrecks and injuries from distracted driving, studies have been done on the subject. Data shows when texting, the average time your eyes are off the road is five seconds. When traveling at 55 miles per hour, you have driven the length of a football field in those seconds. While many states have texting bans or require hands-free cell phone use only, some research indicates even the cognitive distraction of hands-free phone conversations can cause drivers to miss visual and audio cues that would ordinarily help to avoid a crash.