The roads of Washington are filled with drivers who are busy texting, talking on their cellphones or eating a quick meal while behind the wheel, which is very distracting and dangerous behavior. Unfortunately, many of these drivers are commercial truckers.

Truck drivers have a legal responsibility to operate their vehicles in a safe and professional manner. However, the cab of a big rig is filled with distractions, including GPS systems, radios, tablets, cellphones, snacks and drinks. Truck drivers who take their eyes off the road to read a text or grab some chips from a bag can end up traveling hundreds of feet before they look back. For example, a trucker going 50 mph can drive the length of a tractor-trailer in just one second. Meanwhile, a truck driver going 67 mph can cover the length of a football field in just three seconds, and a driver going 70 mph can travel nearly one-tenth of a mile in only five seconds. That’s a long distance to drive blind in a massive truck.

In order to reduce the risk of truck accidents and prevent injuries, safety advocates urge truck drivers to use hands-free technology while behind the wheel. They are also encouraged to open food wrappers and put straws in drinks before pulling out of a parking lot to minimize food-related mishaps once they are on the road. Finally, drivers should follow all of their company’s safety policies on distracted driving while operating their vehicle.

Washington residents who are injured in big rig accidents caused by distracted truck drivers may be owed compensation for medical expenses, lost income, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. A personal injury attorney could evaluate a victim’s case and recommend the best course of legal action.