Just as you may find yourself distracted by ringing phones, roadside accidents, billboards and food, so, too, are those at the helm of today’s commercial trucks. Because of the sheer size and weight of these vehicles, however, the repercussions associated with driving large trucks while distracted can prove quite considerable.
While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration establishes guidelines meant to enhance safety on the roadway for you and other motorists traveling near semi-trucks, today’s truckers do not always follow these distracted driving guidelines. Regrettably, the results sometimes prove deadly.
Defining distracted driving with regard to mobile devices
Essentially, commercial truckers may not lawfully reach, hold, dial, text or read any mobile devices while in operation of their vehicles. If a trucker uses even one hand to make a call or hold a phone or other mobile device, this constitutes distracted driving. So, too, does reaching for a phone or device somewhere in the vehicle when doing so makes the trucker leave his or her seated position behind the wheel.
Quantifying the danger of truck driver distraction
While texting behind the wheel of a truck can increase a truck driver’s chance of an accident by more than 23 times, even the seemingly simple act of dialing a phone can make a trucker nearly six times more likely to get into an accident. Such actions endanger you and everyone else on the roadway, and even looking at a map for navigational purposes can enhance a trucker’s odds of a getting into a serious accident by 7 percent. Using hands-free communicative devices, such as hands-free cellphones, can considerably reduce the risk of an accident.
Truck drivers who drive while distracted can face hefty penalties and fines for endangering you and other motorists, and these penalties tend to increase for subsequent offenses. Truck driving companies, too, may face accountability if their drivers engage in such dangerous driving behaviors, depending on the specifics of the situation.