When news stories are aired about motor vehicle collisions that are caused by a distracted driver, most often, the driver was engaged in an activity such as texting, talking or eating lunch while trying to safely navigate traffic. Unfortunately, there are different types of distractions that do not involve electronic devices or multitasking while behind the wheel.
Truck drivers are required to spend long hours driving thousands of miles. Whether they are commercial truck drivers traveling to locations from one end of North Carolina to the other or they are long-haul drivers making their way across several states, truckers will likely try to pass the time while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, any activity – productive or not – that pulls attention from the road is a distraction that can lead to deadly vehicle collisions.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regularly publishes facts and tips to help truck drivers remain safe on the roads. Unfortunately, they have an abundance of statistics and findings they use to help illustrate their points. For example:
- A study published in 2006 found that the leading factor in crashes and near-crashes was driver inattention. Nearly 80% of these crashes involved some type of driver inattention in a three-second span immediately prior to the crash.
- The FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collaborated on a data-collection study lasting three years. They found that an estimated 11,000 truck crashes in the United States involved drivers that were distracted by activity outside the truck.
Even with pressure on truck drivers to avoid multitasking in the cab by using electronic devices, personal grooming or dining while behind the wheel, numerous distractions exist outside the driver’s immediate influence. Outside-the-cab distractions can include buildings, people, construction projects, other drivers, a collision on the other side of the road or billboards. Watching these distractions can remove the eyes from traffic patterns and the mental focus away from safe driving habits.
Truck drivers must work to avoid visual distractions, manual distractions and cognitive distractions. Vehicle collisions caused by a negligent commercial truck driver often result in devastating injuries or fatalities. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, it is crucial that you discuss your situation with an experienced attorney.