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How Truck Drivers Can Cope with Distractions

Posted in Blog on May 25, 2013

Distractions while driving don’t just increase accident risks for motorists.  They are also linked to hundreds of commercial truck accidents every year.

Truck driver distractions are not only cell phone-related.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration defines distractions as anything that encourages a driver to divert his attention from the task of driving.  That could include everything from the use of cell phones while driving and snacking, to reading and adjusting radio channels.

According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, approximately 8% of all large commercial truck accidents involved a driver who was diverted by an external distraction.  Approximately 2% of the accidents involved internal distractions.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration encourages drivers to avoid focusing on external distractions like billboards, or other vehicles on the road.  Truckers must also avoid internal distractions like cell phones, paperwork, and radio channels.  Distracted driving by motorists can cause serious accidents.  Those accidents are even more devastating when it is a trucker whose attention has been diverted.

Truck drivers can also be distracted when they’re smoking.  That is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration advises truckers to avoid smoking while driving.  When a driver smokes, one of his hands is used to hold the cigarette, and is therefore not on the steering wheel.  Over a period of 5 years, distractions by smoking were found linked to as many as 1,780 accidents.

All commercial truck drivers must switch off their cell phones while driving.  This is nonnegotiable, except in those cases where a driver needs to call emergency services.

Truckers must also avoid snacking and drinking beverages while driving.  Some statistics have found that eating while driving can actually be more dangerous than using a cell phone while driving, because of the use of the hands involved. Learn more at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.