The most recent Forbes Magazine “Deadliest Jobs List” puts truck driving at #8 in the top ten, after jobs in the following industries: fishing, logging, aeronautics, garbage collections, roofing, steel work, and farming/ranching.
For trucking industry groups, from OOIDA (Owner Operator Independent Driver Association) to ATA (American Trucking Associations), driver safety is #1 on their priority lists. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) continues to consider the reduction of distracted driving one of their most critical priorities as well. For instance, truck driving safety training always covers the dangers of distracted driving – it is a high priority among all truck driving safety topics.
While some causes of accidents are beyond our control, such as weather or highway construction, one major culprit that both truck drivers and car drivers can control is distracted driving. According to the American Transportation Research Institute, accidents involving distracted driving killed more than 3,000 people and injured more than 400,000 in 2014.
What constitutes distracted driving? The FMCSA says texting, dialing, reaching for objects (maps, drinks, sunglasses), holding objects, and reading. In a recent study commissioned by the FMCSA, texting greatly increases the risk of an accident. Here’s a breakdown of what behaviors are most likely to cause accidents:
- Texting: 23.2 times as likely to cause an accident
- Writing: 9.0
- Dial Cell Phone: 5.9
- Reach for electronic device: 6.7
- Look at map: 7.0
- Reach for object in vehicle: 3.1
- Talk or listen to CB radio: 0.6
- Talk or listen to hands-free phone: 0.4
Commercial vehicle vehicle (CMV) drivers are strictly prohibited from texting and reading texts while driving. This includes emailing, instant messaging or doing anything with an electronic device that involves more than pressing a single button to initiate or terminate a voice communication. Fines can go up to $2,750 for drivers and $11,000 for motor carriers and drivers can be disqualified from future driving.
Texting while driving distracts drivers’ eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. When that vehicle is moving at 55 miles per hour, the driver has gone the length of a football field – without seeing the highway a single time in that distance! Even texting while you are at a stoplight or in a traffic jam or other delay is prohibited. Law enforcement, the FMCSA, and especially our loved ones all agree that we should take driver distraction very seriously.
When you are stopped at a truck stop or rest area, you can use the time to search for your next load on an online load board. Be sure that you are registered on FreeFreightSearch.com, the world’s largest free load board. Motor carriers can find loads and freight brokers can post an unlimited number of loads at no cost.