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Truck drivers guilty of these 3 distractions

Posted in Truck Accident on Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Truck drivers guilty of these 3 distractions

In September 2014, a semi-truck driver swerved and struck a college softball team’s bus. According to NBC News, the driver told the Oklahoma Highway Patrol that he was reaching for a drink, which caused him to veer into the bus. The accident claimed the lives of four young women. The driver of the accident has not been charged, but many people who engage in distracted driving in Illinois or elsewhere may face criminal charges.

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As a Chicago personal injury lawyer knows, distracted driving is an extremely dangerous behavior for any motorist. Truckers have been found to engage in these types of distractions:

  1. Texting and driving

The U.S. Department of Transportation released a report regarding distracted driving among tractor-trailer drivers that illustrates texting and driving is the one most likely to cause an accident. As the DOT notes, texting, more than any other distraction, requires drivers to take their eyes off the road for a significant period of time.

Researchers from the DOT found that on average, truck drivers who are texting will take their eyes off the road for nearly five seconds, which is enough time to drive the length of a football field.

  1. Interacting with their dispatching device

A necessary part of the job, using a dispatching device is also one of the top distractions drivers face. The Department of Transportation report that truck drivers take their eyes off the road for an average of roughly four seconds every time they need to use the dispatch. As a Chicago personal injury lawyer may have seen, it is an unfortunate hazard that using the radio in the vehicle can also lead to a tragic accident.

Researchers did note that drivers who are equipped with only one-way communication spent much less time focusing on the radio than drivers with two-way capabilities. This could pave the way for improved technology to reduce distractions in the cab.

  1. Complex tasks

The DOT reports that the second-leading cause of driver distractions among truck operators involved doing complex tasks, such as the following:

  • Going through a grocery bag
  • Cleaning their side mirrors
  • Looking at a map
  • Reading a book or newspaper
  • Reaching for or manipulating a device like a radio or GPS unit

Engaging in any of these activities increased the likelihood of a safety-critical event, including crashes and near-misses.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 9.1 percent of all fatal crashes in 2012 involved truck drivers. Big rig operators already face issues such as driver fatigue, load issues and vehicle defects. Adding distracted driving to the mix is asking for a disaster.

Anyone who has questions regarding semi-truck accidents or what to do following one should consult with a Chicago personal injury lawyer.

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