Alert California drivers look ahead, scan to their sides and check the rear-view mirror to see just what is behind them to find out just what surrounds them on the road and adjust, if necessary. Then they do it all over again.

It’s a frightening experience if, as you look through the rear-view mirror, you see a tractor-trailer on the road, barreling at you, as you approach a slowdown on the stretch of highway ahead of you. You shift lanes, happy to see in your mirror that the driver has slowed down and stopped in time.

Accident avoided.

This time, the drivers on the road were lucky. It doesn’t always happen that way. Truck drivers are just as likely to be distracted and take their eyes off the road as drivers of passenger vehicles are.

According to research by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, drivers of commercial vehicles who text behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to find themselves in a dangerous situation than non-texting drivers. Their chances of getting in an accident are six times greater if they are dialing a cell phone. And if they are reaching for an electronic device, they are 6.7 times more likely to have an accident.

Drivers who are dialing the phone or sending a text message have their eyes off the road somewhere between 3.8 and 4.6 seconds. While that doesn’t seem like a long time for a driver to be inattentive, it is. In that time, traveling at 55 mph, that truck will go more than 300 feet. And disaster could be waiting within that distance.

If you or a loved one has been impacted by the negligence of a distracted truck driver, a consultation with an attorney experienced in personal injury cases could be a wise idea.