In 2015 alone, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,477—and injured 391,000 more.1 Distracted truck drivers, who can spend up to 11 hours on the highway, caused some of these crashes.2 In fact, a “2009 study found that 71 percent of large-truck crashes occurred when the truck driver was doing something else besides driving.”3
A distraction is defined as anything that can take a driver’s eyes off the road. Even if drivers are distracted for 5 seconds while traveling at 55 miles per hour, they have covered the distance of a football field during that time.3 In those 5 seconds, a lot can go wrong, including a crash that takes a life or severely injures someone else.
A truck driver can be distracted for multiple reasons. However, there are 3 major distractions that take most of a truck driver’s attention while on the road:
1. Texting or calling on a handheld device
Texting while driving is illegal for commercial vehicle drivers—but that does not deter them from doing it.3 As a society, we’ve grown more accustomed to sending a quick text instead of calling someone. Unlike telephone calls, texting requires you to take your eyes off the road while driving.
Therefore, texting puts truck drivers more at risk for being in a crash. In a 2009 real-world study, researchers found that “texting while driving increased a driver’s chance of being involved in a safety-critical event by 23 times.”3
Sometimes, calling on a telephone or communicating on a dispatching device can be just as distracting as texting. These devices allow truck drivers to communicate with their dispatchers, navigate the area, and keep track of their logbooks.3
In 2009, a study revealed that “using a dispatching device while driving increased a driver’s chances of being involved in a safety-critical event by 9 times.”3 Likewise, a 2010 study found that “dialing a handheld cell phone while driving increased the risk of a crash or near-crash by 3 times.”3
2. Handling materials (e.g., food, maps) inside the cabin
A truck driver can also be distracted while handling materials inside the cabin, such as food, drinks, and maps. Sometimes, if a driver is in a rush, they will order a meal and eat it while they’re driving. This is extremely dangerous; a 2006 study showed that “eating while driving was riskier than talking on a cell phone.”3 Looking at a map increases the chance of being in a safety-critical event by 7 times.3
3. Reading or watching items outside the cabin
Items, such as billboards, outside of the truck’s cabin can also distract a truck driver. Other buildings and people can also distract them. A 2005 study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) revealed that “an estimated 11,000 truck crashes involved distractions external to the truck cab.”3
Seriously Injured in a Crash? Call Us Today
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, you’ll need a lawyer to level the playing field with insurance and trucking companies. Our attorneys at Shannon Law Group, P.C., are ready to help.
You can start by filling out our online contact form. We’re also available 24/7 at (312) 578-9501 or toll-free at (886) 881-9980. A free, no-obligation consultation is available as well.