The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that distraction is one of the major risk factors associated with commercial motor vehicle crashes. A 2009 study found that 71 percent of all large-truck crashes occurred when the truck driver was focused on something other than driving the truck.
Driver distraction can be described as the diversion of attention from activities critical for safe driving to a competing activity. Distraction increases a driver’s risk of getting into a crash. A distracted driver… a driver who is texting, talking on the phone, eating while driving, or adjusting the radio… may not be paying attention even when looking toward the road.
One way to think about distraction is to ask yourself if something is drawing your attention away from the road or taking your eyes off the road ahead of you. If the answer is “yes,” it is probably a distraction.
There are three main types of distraction:
Texting involves all three main types of distraction. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have banned text messaging while driving and 15 states and territories prohibit drivers from using hand-held phones while driving. The FMCSA expressly restricts the use of all hand-held mobile devices by drivers of commercial motor vehicles.
In 2016, 7,277,000 crashes were reported to the police in the U.S., resulting in 37,461 fatalities, which was an increase of 5.6 percent versus 2015. On average, this is nearly 20,000 crashes and 102 fatalities every single day.
FMCSA research shows the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event are 23.2 times greater for CMV drivers when they are texting. When a person is driving and talking on a cell phone, they are as impaired when they as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08%. Cell phone users are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident than undistracted drivers.
A professional driver has a very important responsibility — to drive safely. Driving safely requires full concentration and does not allow for distractions like texting, phone conversations, making changes in the navigation system, etc.
Always remember… safety first!