How Distracted Driving Increases Truck Accident Rates

distracted truck driverCommercial cargo trucks are incredibly big and heavy when loaded to full capacity. When cruising at a high speed on the highways, it can be very difficult to bring these vehicles to an abrupt stop. Therefore, it’s logical to be concerned about distracted truck drivers and how common distractions increase accident rates.

Since most carriers book orders for delivery within a few days, drivers often have to drive through the highways very quickly. Drivers have to be very careful, especially when there are other vehicles nearby. One small mistake can lead to a devastating accident with loss of life for the truck driver or others nearby.

Distractions for Truck Drivers

Truck driver distractions are one of the biggest reasons for highways accidents involving cargo trucks. Highways are pretty boring. Driving through monotonous countryside over and over can lead drivers to find some sort of entertainment while driving. Many drivers use smart phones and other mobile devices while driving and don’t pay as much attention to the road as they should.

Reports from federal motor authorities suggest that tens of thousands of truck drivers use mobile devices every day while driving their trucks. The number is hardly surprising given that hundreds of thousands of small passenger car drivers do the same. However, passenger car accidents are often not a catastrophic as a truck accident and truck drivers are expected to follow a higher degree of caution than typical drivers do.

Top Truck Driver Distractions:

  1. External driver distraction or inattention
  2. Mobile Device (texting, phone & apps)
  3. Dispatch Device
  4. Maps (paper or GPS)
  5. Eating & drinking

Truck Accident Statistics

The US Department of Transportation shared information on the growing problem of distracted truck drivers that is increasing accidents on the highways and cities. The FMCSA issued a report on the matter that shows truckers are 23 times more likely to cause an accident while using mobile phone compared to truckers who do not use mobiles while driving. The report also shows that truckers who are reaching for an object while driving are 3 times more likely to cause a crash. Dialing any handheld device, even if you are not looking at it, can increase the likelihood of an accident by 600%.

Talking on the phone while driving can increase the likelihood of an accident by seven times. Texting or playing games on the mobile while driving were considered the most distracting actions. While texting, a truck driver takes his eye off the road for an average of 4 – 5 seconds. If the truck is going at the speed of 55 mph, a truck can travel the length of a football field in that amount of time. You can also visit our resource page on truck accident statistics compiled from numerous sources.

Ban on Mobile Phone Use

The federal government and many state authorities have banned the use of mobile phones for truck drivers while the truck is in motion. Truckers found guilty of driving while using any mobile device can be fined and their license can be revoked, even if they have not caused an accident.

If a truck driver is involved in an accident and the investigation reveals that they were using a mobile device when the accident took place, they driver can be held responsible for causing the accident. The trucking company can also be sued in such cases for employing the driver, especially if it can be proven that they were aware of the driver’s bad habit.