Truck Driver Phone Distractions Are Increasing

The statistics regarding distracted driving in the nation are on the rise, but that doesn’t just apply to passenger vehicles. In fact, there have been significant increases in the number of distractions for truck drivers that use hands-free and hand-held devices while driving. According to recent statistics released by Lytx, Inc., mobile phones seem to be the biggest cause for distractions among truck drivers.

How the Study Worked

Lytx, Inc. used in-cab video and audio systems to monitor trucking fleets and help prevent collisions, reduce injuries, and provide better training to truck drivers. Using the “DriveCam Program” they were able to get a better idea of the distractions facing truckers.

The video captured activities inside and outside of the truck and were triggered by risky driving events – such as hard braking, sudden acceleration, excessive speeds, swerves, and other potentially unsafe actions. These were then uploaded wirelessly to the company’s server for analysis.

They compiled a list of the distractions that were found during these unsafe procedures and concluded that the biggest culprits included:

  • Hands-free phone use
  • Hand-held phone use
  • Eating or drinking
  • Being distracted by something outside of the truck
  • Using a computer or adjusting a TV
  • Speaking with a passenger

When truck drivers are chatting on the phone, they miss what is going on around them, including traffic lights, signals, and even pedestrians. Talking on the phone can reduce the amount of brain activity that is devoted to driving by as much as 37 percent.

Also, tablets and other electronic devices have become a much more integral component in trucker lifestyles – including keeping in touch with other fleet members, as well as the base.

Tips for Truckers to Stay Safe on the Roads

If you are driving a semi-truck, delivery truck, or even a commercial vehicle, there are things you can do to avoid becoming a dangerous statistic. This includes:

  1. Focus on the road ahead. That means keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road constantly – and not using hands-free devices.
  2. Put your devices in the glove box. It may be tempting, but whatever you do, do not drive with your devices. Instead, put them away for the trip. You can pull them out at your next stop. If you need to use a device to check-in, do so at your next stop or pull off to the side of the road.
  3. Plan your travels ahead. That means programming your navigation screen and any communication devices before you actually drive. That way you are not trying to adjust navigation while driving.

 

Were You Injured by a Distracted Driver?

Whether it was someone behind the wheel of a semi-truck or a driver in a passenger vehicle, distracted driving is negligent driving. Contact the attorneys at Horn Law today to discuss your accident case by calling 816-795-7500 or fill out an online contact form with your legal questions.

Get a New Gadget for Christmas? Don’t Let It Distract You While Driving

The holiday season is here, which means everyone is receiving the latest and greatest for gifts. It is not uncommon these days for someone to receive at least one technological device, whether it is a smartphone, tablet, health tool, etc. However, if you have received a new gadget, avoid the temptation to use it in the car – even if it is designed for car use. Gadgets are the leading cause of distraction among drivers in the United States, and that new toy could actually put your life at risk.

How Gadgets Distract You

There are three types of distractions that a gadget brings: cognitive, visual, and auditory. When you are distracted by any one of these three sectors, you are no longer focusing fully on the road – and you are at a much greater risk for an accident.

  • Cognitive Distractions – Cognitive refers to how your brain interacts with a device. When you are mentally focusing on your phone or new device while driving – such as focusing on the conversation you are hearing from your hands-free MP3 player or talking on the phone – you are no longer cognitively focusing on driving. When driving does not have your full attention, you could be in a situation that is much more dangerous than you realize. You may not notice a serious level of distraction when traffic is moving smoothly and roads are free from obstacles — but what if that car in front of you suddenly brakes? Would your being distracted by your MP3 player affect your ability to react quickly?
  • Visual Distractions – This is when your eyes divert from the road to look at your device, whether that is reading the screen for a text message or even looking up a new song to turn on. Taking your eyes from the road even for a few seconds dramatically reduces your response time and you could even veer out of your lane without realizing it. Every driver has their own tolerance for distractions, but, regardless of your perceived tolerance, you should put the device away and only look at it when you are no longer driving.
  • Auditory Distractions – Sounds can also distract you. If you have music playing loudly or the kids are watching a DVD on their new entertainment system, you are distracted by those sounds in the vehicle. To be distraction-free, you need to silence these sources – which mean turning off the device or having those that are using them wear headphones so that you cannot hear it.

What Happens If You Are Injured by a Distracted Driver?

While you know how to be responsible with those new devices you receive over the holidays, not all drivers are as diligent. If you are injured by a distracted driver, contact the attorneys at Horn Law today. We offer free consultations and can discuss the facts of your case to see if you are eligible for compensation. Call us at 816-795-7500 or fill out an online contact form with your legal questions.

AAA Releases New Study on Distracted Driving – and Results May Surprise You

AAA released a study recently that has shed new light on distracted driving. In this study, released earlier in November, AAA found that hands-free technology is just as dangerous as using the device itself. They say hands-free technology’s effects could linger for as much as 30 seconds after the task is complete; so, for example, 30 seconds after changing a song or sending text messages, your mind could still be occupied with the task, continuing the distraction.

More About the Study

The study specifically assessed the use of hands-free devices while driving. Traditionally, hands-free devices have been advertised as the safer alternative to using a device, and even some manufacturers will claim it reduces or eliminates distracted driving. In the study, they assessed the push-to-talk technologies found in the 2015 model year vehicles. They found potentially unsafe levels of distractions that can last as long as 27 seconds after completing the task itself. When driving at just 25 miles per hour, that amount of time will take you the length of almost three football fields.

This was the agency’s third phase of investigations, as they have been devoting their time to cognitive distractions. AAA has wanted to prove that hands-free devices are just as dangerous and can mentally distract drivers even when their hands are on the wheel and eyes on the road.

In the study, they also found that some drivers are distracted as much as 15 additional seconds after completing the task.  Just a few vehicles and hands-free technology that were assessed included:

  • Chevy Equinox
  • Mazda 6
  • Apple Siri
  • Microsoft Cortana

The Apple and Microsoft applications actually increased the distraction time more than the built-in units inside these vehicles.

Stay Safe, Glove Box Your Electronic Devices

While hands-free may seem safer, the reality is that it is just as dangerous as using the device in your hands. The only way to truly refrain from distraction is to not use a device that takes your cognitive abilities off the road. Simply glancing at a device can have lingering distractive effects that impact your ability to drive safely, putting more lives at risk.

If you have a hands-free device, never assume that it is safer. Instead, it is wise to “glove box” your phone, removing the temptation to engage in cell phone activity, even if it is hands-free.

If You Are Injured by a Distracted Driver

Despite this new study, there are still thousands of drivers who choose to use hands-free technology on a daily basis. After all, most states have not banned their use; therefore, drivers feel it is okay to continue using them. However, if a driver is distracted and it leads to recklessness, causing an accident, you can hold that driver accountable for their negligent behavior. Contact Horn Law today for a free consultation by calling 816-795-7500, or fill out an online contact form.

Don’t Let Holiday Travel Distract You from the Road Ahead

Most people will get behind the wheel and spend a few hours in the car during the holidays, whether it is attending a Christmas party, visiting family and friends, or completing some last minute shopping. During the holidays, everyone seems to have their minds elsewhere – gifts, cluttered schedules, and much more. Even though you certainly have a full plate, you need to stay aware of the road ahead and make sure you are not becoming distracted at a time you need your attention the most – while driving.
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How Distracted Driving Impacts Businesses

Distracted driving impacts everyone. One sector that has not received much attention, but should, is that of local businesses. Businesses are just as affected by distracted driving – whether it is their own employees or those sharing the road with their employees. Driving presents a significant risk already for risk of injury and property damage. When driving distracted, these risks increase exponentially. What some businesses may not realize is how distracted driving also impacts their bottom line.

Distracted driving increases the likelihood of motor vehicle crashes. That is because driving is a visual task and non-driving activities will take a driver’s attention and view away from the road – therefore, these actions must be avoided.
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25 Shocking Facts About Distracted Driving You Need to Know

Most people are well aware of the dangers of distracted driving, however once you see these startling statistics closer together, you may be able to put all of the facts you have been told into perspective. These statistics only further prove the dangers of distracted driving – and how every individual operating a vehicle needs to act responsibly to reduce the numbers of accidents and accident-related fatalities.
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How to Avoid Distracted Driving With Children in the Car

As a responsible driver, you know the dangers of distracted driving. That is why you put away your phone, avoid changing the radio and even stopped eating in the car. But, if you are traveling with small children, you may not realize that attending to your children while driving is another form of distraction. Whether it is soothing an upset child or simply dealing with the chaos that occurs when transporting a few children to and from school or other activities.

No matter where you are going with the kids, your children are likely to need something during the trip or may even engage in an argument with one another while you are driving. By preparing in advance, you can stop all of these distractions before they become a safety concern.
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The Penalties and Risks of Distracted Driving as a Truck Driver

It is not just average motorists that are banned from texting and driving. There are federal laws that prohibit the use of cellphones while operating a semi-truck or tractor trailer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has created new rules that restrict drivers from texting or using hand-held mobile devices while operating a bus or truck or any classified commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

According to the FMCA’s research, the odds of being involved in a crash, near-crash, lane deviation or other safety-critical event increase 23.2 times more for CMV drivers that text while driving than those who do not. Texting operators take their eyes away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. When traveling at 55 miles per hour, this equates to 371 feet – the length of a football field – without ever looking at the roadway.
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Kansas City, MO Distracted Driving Lawyers – Horn Law

Motorists that drive distracted do not just put other motorists at risk, they also put the safety and lives of motorcycle riders at risk too. Distracted driving is a significant concern to motorcyclists, especially because they have more at stake than a driver protected by a vehicle. Riders are focused on one thing: riding – just like drivers should only be focused on driving.
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Students Get Exposed to the Dangers of Distracted Driving

The number of traffic fatalities is up by 11 percent since 2014 and in the southwest corner of the state, accidents are up by 36 percent according to an article by Ozarks First. Local business owners and Highway Patrol are working diligently to help reduce the number of accidents and also curb the main cause for the increase in traffic fatalities countrywide. The goal is to start teaching young student drivers the dangers of distracted driving long before they get behind the wheel.
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