There’s No Room for Error in Trucking Jobs
Distracted driving is dangerous at any time on the road, but it creates even more hazards in trucking jobs. When drivers are fumbling with the radio, digging for something in the console, or messing around with an electronic device like a tablet or cellphone, it takes away from their focus on the job—maintaining control of an 80,000 pound rig. Looking away, even for a second, costs drivers in trucking jobs valuable time they need to assess a situation and avoid an accident. According to statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nine people are killed and another 1,060 others are injured in motor vehicle accidents every day because of distracted drivers. The NTSB is taking these statistics seriously, and has placed the problem on its “Top 10 Most Wanted” list of transportation improvements for 2014.
The CDC points out that driving distractions come in three main forms: drivers taking their eyes off the road, taking their hands off the wheel, and taking their minds off the task at hand. Individually, each of these is bad enough, but when two or all three are combined, which occurs with activities like texting or emailing, particularly in trucking jobs, they become very dangerous. The average text message distracts a driver for 4.6 seconds, and a truck going 65 mph travels 370 feet in that time. That same truck however, takes 525 feet to come to a complete stop, even in perfect conditions, which is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) notes that drivers with trucking jobs who text are over 23 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event (crash, near-crash, or inadvertent lane change) than those who don’t.
The FMCSA takes distracted driving in trucking jobs so seriously that it published rules prohibiting texting, holding a cellphone while talking, reaching for a mobile phone if it requires loosening the seat belt, or using any other electronic device that requires more than a single push of a single button to use. The violation carries a severity multiplier of 10 in CSA/SMS scoring, and can result in drivers being fined up to $2750 and losing their CDL for up to 120 days if caught. Trucking companies who allow such activities by their drivers in trucking jobs face even stiffer penalties.
Distracted driving is dangerous and potentially deadly. On top of that, for those in trucking jobs, it can be very expensive financially and personally. The number of people who fall victim to distracted drivers every day is staggering, and the likelihood of drivers getting into an accident while driving distracted is overwhelming, and just a matter of time for those lucky enough to have avoided one so far. Using hands-free devices and speed dial is helpful, but the best advice is to put all electronics in the sleeper while driving, and use them only when the truck is parked. It’s the right thing to do for drivers, their families, their employers, and the innocent people who might otherwise be injured by a distracted driver causing an accident.
Transport America believes safety is the first and most important priority for its drivers. If you feel the same way, join the Transport America team by visiting their website.