According to statistics, there are more than 275 million cell phone subscribers in the United States. These subscribers own more than 380 million active cell phones. Many of these cell phone users are commercial truck drivers who use their devices to communicate with their loved ones back home and the trucking companies they work for. They also use their cell phones to pass those long days away from home, using social media, movie, and game apps.
All this activity also creates data that can verify – or disprove – a truck driver’s logs to determine whether or not he or she was adhering to all trucking regulations in the event the truck driver is involved in a crash.
Tractor-trailer and other types of commercial truck crashes are some of the most devastating types of vehicle accidents there are. Many victims of truck accidents are killed and those that do survive are often left with catastrophic injuries that leave them needing life-long medical treatment and personal care. The financial and emotional costs to victims and their families are high, but there is legal relief available. A Virginia personal injury attorney can help truck accident victims pursue damages against those who are legally liable for the crash.
Far too many of these crashes are caused by negligence or recklessness on the part of the truck driver. One of the more common causes is truck driver fatigue. Despite stringent federal trucking regulations which specify how many hours per day a truck driver can legally be behind the wheel, many truck drivers ignore these rules and drive for longer than they should, putting everyone on the road around them at risk because of their lack of sleep.
Another common – and dangerous – cause of truck accidents is distracted driving. Every driver should stay focused on the road and not on their cell phone and this is especially true for commercial truck drivers, who also have the additional burden of maintaining control over massive size vehicles. Studies have shown that talking on a hand-held cell phone is the same as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 and texting is the same as driving with a BAC of 0.10. The legal BAC limit in Virginia and most states is 0.08.
Using Cell Phone Records for Evidence
The preservation of evidence is one of the reasons why it is so critical for victims to seek out the assistance of an accident attorney immediately following a crash.
In order to prove truck driver negligence, a Virginia truck accident attorney may be able to get the evidence needed from the driver’s cell phone. As long as the data still exists on the phone, the victim’s attorney can file legal action which would require the driver and/or trucking company to preserve the data on the phone. This enables the attorney to obtain the location history of the phone which would show where the truck driver was at various times, as well as emails and texts between the truck driver and the trucking company.
But what happens if the data evidence is not preserved on the phone? The good news for victims is that there is still a way for an attorney to prove driver fatigue or distracted driving using information that cell phone carriers keep. These records not only show when a call or text was made but also show the location of the cell phone user during that activity.
An attorney can use this information collected from cell phone towers and compare it to what the driver entered in their driving logs. For example, if the driver claimed to be sleeping during a time period in their log book but the cell phone tower records show the driver was on his or her phone talking, hundreds of miles away from where they claimed to be, during this same time, this can be used as evidence to prove that the driver could have been suffering from driving fatigue when the crash happened.
Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact a Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have. Truck accident cases can be complex, and it is not uncommon for there to be multiple at-fault parties who are responsible for the payment of financial damages you may be entitled to for your injuries. The legal team at Shapiro & Appleton has successfully represented many injured victims and their families and we are happy to meet with you and offer legal guidance on what the best options may be for your circumstances.