Efforts to Stop Distracted Truck Driving May Not Be Adequate

By April 19, 2013Car & Truck Accidents

As mobile devices flourish, so too do the deadly dangers of distracted commercial trucking drivers. Some trucking companies appear to be taking steps to limit the negligent practice of truck drivers texting or phoning while behind the wheel. However, there are signs that such steps won’t work and of the potential for even more distracted driving in the future.

A company that sells products to monitor commercial driver behavior recently published a survey that measured the attitudes of trucking professionals toward distracted driving. The survey included 547 individuals who oversee fleets of trucks in a wide variety of industries.

There is some relatively good news to report from the survey findings:

• The majority of the respondents – 71 percent – said their companies have instituted some sort of policy to combat the use of cell phones while driving

• Of the 29 percent of the companies that don’t currently have measures to stop distracted driving, 52 percent plan to in the future

• Of the companies with anti-mobile device rules, 41 percent prohibit all use of mobile devices, including hands-free versions. (Yet 45 percent allow hands-free devices.)

Few Feel Confident That Rules Will Stop Distracted Truck Driving

However, this survey also raises more concerns over distracted commercial truck drivers now and in the future:

• Insufficient enforcement of rules – 81 percent of those surveyed say they rely on employees attesting that they are indeed following the rules

• Lack of confidence that the distracted driving rules will even work – Only 32 percent who have company rules were “very confident” the rules will be effective

• Even more distractions in the future – 27 percent of the companies in the survey provide their commercial drivers with a table computer, and 8 percent indicate they plan to do so over the next year

So while some actions are being implemented to deter truck drivers from using cell phones, it appears they may not be adequate. And, more truckers may soon have multi-use tablets, such as iPads, to provide even more driving distractions in the not so distant future.