Distracted driving causes more than 400,000 injuries each year, but this issue is not confined to drivers of pickups, vans and passenger vehicles.
Truck drivers are not immune to distractions and given the sheer size and weight of a big rig, the occupants of a smaller vehicle in a truck-related crash usually suffer the most severe injuries.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) keeps close tabs on truck-related crashes and constantly works on ways to reduce accidents. Their regulations prohibit drivers from texting or otherwise using a hand-held mobile phone while behind the wheel. FMCSA findings show that those who text are 23 times more likely to experience a “safety-critical event” than those who keep their attention focused on the road. Drivers caught ignoring the rules face fines and disqualifications. Drivers must use a hands-free device, which is usually a speaker phone with an earpiece.
Distractions on the outside
In addition to texting, calling and reading messages on a cell phone, distractions inside the cab include eating, reading, writing and adjusting the radio. However, there are plenty of distractions outside that take a driver’s attention away from the road ahead. These include looking at billboards, scenery, people, buildings or vehicles stopped at the side of the road.
Since a motorist does not know whether the truck driver in the next lane has his or her full attention on the road ahead, it is best to proceed with caution. A moment’s distraction could cause a catastrophic crash with life-changing injuries. A motorist should give the big rig plenty of room and make every effort to stay out of its blind spot to continue enjoying a safe trip.