In the state of Texas, and elsewhere in the United States, distracted driving is a major underlying cause of accidents. Indeed, thousands of people are injured annually across the country in distracted driver commercial truck accidents. There are some specific strategies that can be employed to eliminated distracted driving by big rig operators.
Do Not Multitask and Never Text
A fundamental strategy to employ to lessen the chance of distracted driving is to avoid multitasking. This includes talking on the phone, adjusting the radio, or even texting. Eating and drinking should also be avoided while operating a commercial truck. Texting and driving a commercial truck will not only get you a ticket, but is also 23 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event.
Cell Phone Use
Studies show that drivers are 6 times more likely to become involved in a critical even when dialing a cell phone. The FMCSA has also passed rules restricting how a cellphone can be dialed by a trucker.
A second key strategy to utilize to lessen the risk of distracted driving is to maintain a sharp focus. A big rig operator needs to avoid anything that takes the focus off driving. This means actively scanning the road, including taking advantage of a truck’s mirrors.
Adjust Before Starting to Drive
Another tactic to use to lower driver distraction is to make all adjustments before getting on the road. This includes everything from prepping the GPS, setting the radio, adjusting mirrors, climate control, and other things. This should be avoided while driving whenever possible.
As noted previously, eating and drinking should be avoided while driving. In addition, a driver should eat healthy snacks before and after a trip. In addition, snacking can occur when breaks are taken while driving, during breaks for fueling, and for other purposes.
A surprising number of rig drivers engage in grooming and even dressing while driving. Grooming and dressing should be completed before a big rig driver gets behind the wheel.
Driving While Fatigued
37% of all commercial truck drivers report that they have nodded off, or fallen completely asleep behind the wheel. Fatigue is classified as a major driving distraction. Even if a driver does not nod off, fatigue prevents a commercial truck driver from being fully connected to the important task of operating a commercial truck.
Properly Address Emergencies
If some sort of emergency occurs, the first step to take is to pull to the side of the road and contact appropriate emergency personnel. Even the use of hands-free devices while driving can cause a driver to become distracted.
Another strategy to employ to avoid distracted driving is to make sure all items carried in the cab of a truck are properly stowed. Items that are loose, and even rolling around inside the cab can prove to be distracting and dangerous.
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