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.

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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An Increase in Traffic Fatalities Nationwide

So far in 2015 there has been a 14 percent increase in traffic-related fatalities. This is the deadliest traffic year since 2007, which is cause for concern. In 2015 there were more than 18,600 motor-vehicle deaths from January to June – compared to a total of 16,400 deaths in the first six months of 2014. The cost of these accident-related deaths and property damage is estimated at $152 billion – which is up by 24 percent from 2014.

What is Causing the Increase in Traffic Deaths?

Unfortunately the increase in the accident fatalities for 2015 is primarily distracted driving. Because drivers are easily distracted on the roads – whether by a smartphone, tablet, or even by their vehicle’s GPS system – they are no longer watching the road ahead. This distraction has led to more accidents and obviously more deaths than years prior. According to the NSC, American drivers are addicted to their devices and they would rather sacrifice their own safety than put their devices down long enough to drive.
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