E-cigarettes and truck driving: a dangerous combination

Safety precautions about smoking for truck drivers have been in place for many years. With the growing popularity of e-cigarettes or vaping, there are new concerns.

A safety advisory from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) cautions drivers about using e-cigarettes and vaporizers because of the possibility of fires and explosions. The FMCSA's advisory covers the danger of parts of the device, including the battery case, burning and causing a fire in the truck. According to FMCSA estimates, over 150 explosions occurred from 2009 to 2014 because of this problem.

The risks of vaping for truckers and other drivers

While the driver is obviously at risk if e-cigarettes or vaporizers cause a fire, other people on the road may also be injured. A fire in the truck's cab can badly injure the driver, resulting in an accident with other vehicles. An explosion in the truck could cause nearby vehicles to collide or catch fire.

In addition to the potential for fires and explosions, overall health concerns about vaping remain. Truck drivers tend to be heavy smokers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that surveys of long-haul truckers over the past 10 years show that more than 60 percent of these drivers are smokers. Like many people, some truck drivers choose e-cigarettes because of the belief that they are not as harmful as traditional cigarettes. Doctors and scientists caution that we don't yet know about the long-term health effects of vaping, however.

Legal issues of accidents caused by vaping

People injured in trucking accidents may seek compensation from the trucking company and its insurance carrier if negligence caused the accident. If the accident was also caused by defective vaping devices, there may be potential for a products liability suit, as well.

All trucking cases are complex, regardless of the underlying cause of the accident. Talk to a lawyer to learn how the law may apply in your case.

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