Distracted Truck Drivers Far More Likely To Speed and Crash

In the “dog bites man” news department, there’s new evidence that shows distracted truck drivers are very dangerous and cause accidents.

The study, which encompassed video recordings of 180 million truck-driving trips over a one-year period, concludes that distracted truckers not only speed more than those not distracted but also make more driving errors of other kinds and are less safe overall.

SmartDrive Systems, a company that provides safety programs and technology to trucking companies, recently announced the findings of its exhaustive study.

Types of Truck Driver Distractions

The study’s summary pinpoints three categories of truck driver distractions:

·         Visual distractions – those that take a trucker’s eyes off the road

·         Cognitive distractions – those that diminish a truck driver’s mental focus on driving

·         Manual distractions – those that make a trucker take his or her hands off the wheel

This study documented incidents of all three types of trucker distractions.  It compared truck drivers who crashed at least once between February 2016 and January 2017 to drivers who were accident-free to determine to what extent distractions caused truck crashes.

All three types of distractions – visual, cognitive and manual – were linked to the use of a mobile device while driving.  And the truckers using a cell phone, either hands-free or hand-held, were far more likely to crash.  Incidentally, federal law prohibits truckers from using hand-held cell phones will driving.

Truck Drivers Who Crash Most Likely Distracted

According to SmartDrive Systems, truck drivers who got into accidents had extensively higher rates of distractions – as high as 94 percent for cell phone users.  Besides cell phone use, the distractions included:

·         Eating or drinking

·         Smoking

·         Grooming

·         Doing paperwork

It’s reasonable to assume that a driver not focused on the road ahead is more likely to speed, and the study’s findings bear this out.  The study’s most distracted truck drivers were 87 percent more likely to speed at least 10 mph over the posted limit than those not distracted.  In particular, the most distracted truckers on a mobile device were 300 percent more likely to drive at least 10 mph over the speed limit than other drivers.

The study also found that distracted truck drivers were much more likely to roll or barrel through stop signs and red lights, as well as swerve out of their lanes.  For truckers on cell phones, the likelihood for either jumped dramatically.

The epidemic of distracted drivers is growing swiftly.  So much so that neighboring Illinois designated April 24-April 27, 2017 as Distracted Driving Awareness Week, the first such effort for the state.

Driver distraction is just one example negligent actions by truckers.  Truckers and their employers have a duty to eliminate all careless behaviors that pose serious risks to other drivers.

If you lost a loved one or you were seriously injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, consult an experienced truck accident attorney to pursue your legal rights to just compensation from those responsible.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Articles April 25, 2017