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Large truck drivers aren’t safe from driving distractions

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2023 | Truck Accidents

Distracted driving remains one of the most significant factors in motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 3,000 people die each year from vehicular collisions resulting from distracted drivers – nearly 9% of all motor vehicle accidents annually in the US.

But distracted driving isn’t just a problem plaguing car drivers; large truck drivers are also at risk of exposing themselves to crash risks if they have distractions during their line of work.

Frequency of large truck crashes associated with distracted driving

How often do truck drivers get into accidents for distracted driving? A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that in 2009, 71% of large truck crashes occurred when the driver was doing something else apart from driving.

What are the biggest distractions to truck drivers?

While the usual distractions that affect the average driver can also affect truck drivers – such as billboard signs, eating and drinking, looking at other cars, changing radio stations, etc. – truckers must also contend with distractions unique to their line of work:

  • Using dispatching devices: While it’s part of a truck driver’s job to coordinate with their dispatchers, using the data terminals while driving can take a driver’s attention away from the road ahead and raise their risk of collision.
  • Paper maps: It’s not unusual for truck drivers to refer to maps to get from points A to B, but reading a map while driving can be a recipe for disaster. GPS devices may offer a potential hands-free alternative to map reading, but spending too much time tinkering with the devices can also be as much of a distraction.
  • Mobile devices: Using mobile devices while driving may not be a problem unique to only truck drivers, but a 2019 report revealed how many truckers were engaging in this risky behavior. The report found that 45% of surveyed truck drivers admitted using their mobile devices while driving. Another 57% indicated they were involved in at least one crash reporting mobile device use.

Collisions resulting from distracted driving can result in injuries or even death – more so in cases involving large trucks. If you are the victim of a crash with a truck, keep in mind that the truck driver might claim it was the result of distracted driving. If you take your case to court, elements such as the truck driver’s black box logs or mobile phone records may be presented as evidence if the trucker admits they were distracted.