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Trucking company hopes to avoid distracted driving crashes

In Peoria, we are very familiar with the sounds and sights of 18-wheelers both roaring by and slowing down to drop off or pick up goods. Everyone who has driven on Interstate 74 knows that the biggest vehicles on the road are also the heaviest and most difficult to maneuver and stop.

Most truck drivers safely steer their big rigs without problems, but there are also exceptions to that rule: truckers who cause accidents, injuries and fatalities. Law enforcement officials, safety organizations and researchers all say that distracted driving is a growing problem among truckers.

We read recently of a truck company that is trying to get out front of the distracted driving problem with a zero-tolerance policy for its drivers. If they are caught even once using their cellphones while behind the wheel of one of the company's tractor-trailers, they get no warning. They get fired, a Werner Enterprises spokesperson said.

A company driver who has been with the firm for more than four decades says he has a simple solution to distractions: "I don't believe in talking on the phone while I'm driving." The approach is working; he has been accident-free for his 40 years behind the wheel of commercial trucks.

Many of our readers will recall that Werner was ordered to pay $90 million to victims of 2014 crash involving one of its vehicles. The company clearly hopes to avoid similar results in lawsuits triggered by distracted driving crashes.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in a commercial truck accident, contact a personal injury attorney experienced in aggressive, effective litigation.

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