Texting & Driving In A Commercial Vehicle

Texting & Driving In A Commercial Motor Vehicle

September 03, 2021

If you text and drive in your car, please stop. If you drive a commercial motor vehicle, please make certain you not only refrain from texting and driving in your personal vehicle, but especially in your commercial motor vehicle.

Why No One Should Text And Drive

Even though everyone knows texting and driving is dangerous, it’s worthwhile to point out some statistics. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 3,142 people were killed in the US in 2019 by distracted driving. Additionally, NHTSA has reported that there were an estimated 424,000 people injured in 2019 from crashes involving distracted driving. Statistically, that means in 2019 that over 8 people per day were killed by distracted driving, and over 1161 people per day were injured by distracted driving.

Semis And Texting

Since I am involved in helping families involved in catastrophic and often fatal crashes involving semis, I pay special attention when driving my own vehicle down the road to semi-driver behavior. I want to be clear, a great majority of the semi-drivers are doing their job, and doing it safely. But, on nearly every road trip I have in North Dakota and Minnesota, I see semi drivers who are dangerously driving while texting. I can almost always tell who they are going to be, as they are normally weaving all over the road and then correcting when they hit the rumble strips. Luckily for the drivers I have witnessed texting and driving their semis, nothing happened. But, that’s only because they are lucky, as the commercial driving rules are very clear on this issue and how dangerous it is to be texting and driving a semi.

Rules For Semi Drivers

The Federal Carrier Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) are clear, no texting and driving by semi drivers. FMCSR 392.80 not only prohibits a driver of a semi from texting while driving but also prohibits motor carriers from allowing or requiring its drivers to text while driving a commercial motor vehicle.

Why? Because it’s even more dangerous to text and drive while driving a 40 ton (or more) truck. The North Dakota CDL Manual at Section 2.9.5 (Page 2-21) explains:

“Research shows that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation) is 23.2 times greater for CMV drivers who engage in texting while driving than for those who do no. Sending or receiving a text takes your eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, you would travel 371 feet, or the length of an entire football field without looking at the roadway.”


If you currently text and drive, please stop, my 18-month-old son is begging you (he may not know that, but he would be). If you are a semi-truck driver, please make certain you do not text and drive, and if you see your colleagues doing it, please call them out. Your safety also depends on it.

This area of the law is highly technical and it is important you have an attorney who understands the huge difference between a regular car crash and one involving a commercial motor vehicle. If you or a loved one has been catastrophically injured or killed in a crash involving a commercial motor vehicle, it is very important you hire an attorney who knows trucking laws and regulations. Our personal injury team at SW&L Attorneys understands, knows, and handles all trucking and commercial motor vehicle accidents. To get in touch with our team, call 701-297-2890, or email us.