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When truckers are distracted

Anytime you get behind the wheel of your car, you undoubtedly face distraction. Other motorists, children demanding attention and roadside attractions are just a few of the things that can divert your attention away from the immediate task at hand, and just as you face such distractions, so, too, do commercial truckers.

Because of the sheer size and weight of modern semi-trucks, however, the repercussions when truckers drive distracted may prove far more severe than they would for someone driving a traditional passenger car. Furthermore, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that more than 70 percent of trucker-involved accidents occur when the driver focuses on something other than the road directly ahead. Some of the most notable distractions taking trucker attention away from the roadway include:

Cellphones

Just as texting and driving is a serious problem for many motorists, many truckers also feel the urge to communicate via their cellphones while on the job. Texting behind the wheel increases a semi-truck driver's chance of involvement in a safety-critical event 23 times over, highlighting just how dangerous distracted driving is for truckers and everyone they encounter on the road.

Dispatch devices

Using a dispatching device, which truckers often rely on for everything from directions to instructions for how to navigate around traffic jams, enhances a driver's chance of involvement in a safety-critical event by nine times. Part of the problem lies in the fact that these dispatching devices have the capacity to take a driver's manual, cognitive and visual attention away from the road all at once.

Food and drink

Would it surprise you to know that eating behind the wheel is actually more distracting and potentially dangerous than using a cellphone while you drive? According to one study, this is, in fact, true. The issue may prove particularly problematic for truckers, because the demands of their job and the often-tight deadlines involved may lead many drivers to eat on the road to save time.

Staying vigilant when driving near commercial trucks should improve your safety to some extent, but trucking companies have a duty to do the same by properly training their drivers about the dangers of driving distracted.

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