The topic of texting and driving has been discussed in this blog many times. This is because the use of hand-held devices is a serious problem among truck drivers in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the country. However, there are other types of distraction that can also affect truck drivers. People injured in a truck accident often suffer from long-term problems or disabilities, so any type of distraction must be taken seriously.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have pinpointed three main types of distraction for drivers – visual, manual and cognitive. Visual distractions take a driver’s eyes off the road; manual distractions may involve the hands, feet or other body parts needed to operate a vehicle; cognitive distraction affects a driver’s mind and concentration. The following are some examples in which a truck driver may be distracted in these areas:
- Visual – looking at a GPS system or a map, or being distracted by scenery or passengers
- Manual – eating, drinking or adjusting the radio or communications system
- Cognitive – daydreaming, joking around with passengers or on the phone
Cellphone use, particularly texting while driving, involves all three distraction types. Truck drivers who text and drive are over 23 times more likely to get in an accident or near accident than those who keep their attention on the road. To address this issue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can fine truck drivers up to $2,750 for texting and driving or using a hand-held device while behind the wheel. A truck company may receive a fine of $11,000 for not ensuring their drivers adhere to this rule.
Distracted driving in all forms can affect any driver. Commercial truck drivers should hold themselves to high safety standards, but unfortunately not all of them do so.