Even if you are not a truck driver, you know how dangerous distracted driving is. Still, countless motorists are involved in accidents due to distracted driving. However, distracted driving by commercial truckers can present a higher risk. Large trucks are heavier than passenger vehicles, meaning it takes considerably longer to stop in a commercial truck than a standard car. The increased weight of freight trucks also increases the risk of serious injury or death in the event of an accident. Let’s go over the dangers of distracted driving for truck drivers.
Defining Distracted Driving
The federal government defines distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Anything that makes you look away from the road, take your hands off of the wheel, or obstruct your focus on changing traffic is considered distracted driving. Nowadays, texting and cellphone use is the biggest contributor to avoidable accidents. However, there are many ways that drivers can stay safe and focused while on the road.
Penalties for Distracted Driving
Commercial truckers can face steeper penalties if caught driving dangerously. For example, drivers can be fined up to $2,000, and repeat offenses will result in the driver being disqualified or removed from service for up to 120 days. Even more so, the penalty for repeatedly using hand-held devices while driving can sometimes include termination of employment.
Preventing Distracted Driving for Truckers
Truck drivers are more responsible for staying focused while driving since commercial trucks are much heavier than passenger cars. As a truck driver, consider these tips when driving:
- Always keep your cell phone somewhere where you can’t reach it.
- Make sure that your GPS is logged in and functioning before getting on the road.
- Pull over to the side to eat. Eating while driving causes more accidents than you may think.
It is also essential to be aware of other drivers around you and take note if they are driving erratically. If you encounter a distracted driver, follow these steps:
- Record the license plate number and contact highway patrol. While that may not make them stop, a highway patrolman is bound to catch them if they are constantly on their phones or performing other distracting activities.
- Establish a set rule for your fleet, and make your other drivers agree to avoid distracted driving when on the clock.
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