Distracted driving is a growing epidemic that results in thousands of traffic fatalities in the U.S. each year. Everywhere we look, we see drivers holding cellphones or multitasking behind the wheel. Any task that creates a manual, visual or cognitive distraction significantly increases the risk of being involved in a crash.
Distracted drivers often aren’t able to react in a timely manner to avoid a crash. Sometimes, distracted drivers don’t make any attempt to stop or avoid a crash at all, resulting in a high-speed catastrophe. That’s exactly what happened in Washington County, Minnesota. Except the distracted driver wasn’t operating a small car. He was operating an 18-wheeler when he struck and killed another driver while traveling at 63 mph.
The crash occurred in 2018, but was recently discussed in an article by FleetOwner. In the moments prior to the crash, the truck driver, Sam Hicks, received a text message from his girlfriend about real estate property found on Zillow. Hicks became curious about the property and began searching for it on Zillow. Moments later, he crashed into the back of a small car that was stopped at a red light.
Hicks admitted to authorities that he used his cellphone while driving, but didn’t think anything would happen. Hicks’ truck hit the small car so hard that it went on top of the car and crushed it. The victim in the crash had to be extricated from the car at a nearby fire station. The driver was fatally injured.
In October 2020, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety released a video titled Eight Seconds: One Fatal Distraction. The video opens with the dashcam footage of Hicks crashing into the back of the smaller car. It also shows footage of the crash scene afterward and cab footage of Hicks using his cellphone.
More importantly, the video sent a powerful message that all drivers should consider listening to.
“I don’t think drivers realize how long they’re actually looking at their phones, not paying attention to the road,” said Hicks. “It doesn’t matter if you wear a suit and tie. It doesn’t matter if you wear jeans and boots. It doesn’t matter what you do for a job. This can happen to anybody. All it takes is one poor decision.”
A large commercial truck can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs. when fully loaded. It takes a considerable amount of skill, experience and attention to safely operate a large truck. When truck drivers fail to uphold their duty to other drivers, they should be held accountable. The attorneys at Mike Slocumb Law Firm have seen the devastation that negligent truck drivers cause to crash victims and their families. We’re dedicated to investigating truck crashes and helping our clients build strong legal cases.
If you or a loved one was injured in a crash, contact our law firm online or call us to schedule your free case evaluation. We have law offices in Alabama, Maryland, Mississippi, West Virginia, Colorado, Texas, and the District of Columbia.