Anyone who has ever traveled long distances by car knows just how boring and tedious it can get. Imagine if your job was to sit behind the wheel of a vehicle 10 or more hours a day. How boring would that be?
It may not be difficult for you to understand how something could distract a truck driver so easily, but that doesn’t mean you or anyone else should condone it. Driving an 18-wheeler is an immense responsibility, and truckers shouldn’t take it lightly.
The statistics paint a grim picture
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that around 1,000 injuries and nine deaths occur each day in crashes in which a distracted driver is at fault. The costs of accidents involving a distracted truck driver can range anywhere from no less than $16,500 if no one suffers any injuries to $500,000 if someone dies. The NHTSA reports the following statistics as well:
- Approximately 3,450 people died in distracted driving crashes in 2016.
- Around 391,000 people suffered injuries in distracted driving crashes in 2015.
- The National Safety Council estimates that no less than 27% of all crashes involve cell phones.
As you can imagine, these numbers have probably only risen since that time. Many governmental agencies also believe that distracted driving crashes are some of the most under-reported, so the percentages and numbers could prove even higher. These statistics involve all vehicles, so you can imagine how many crashes involving 18-wheelers occurred due to a distracted truck driver.
Avoiding distraction is harder than it looks
A 2016 survey revealed some alarming information when it comes to distracted driving. Below were the most often cited types of distraction drivers gave in to behind the wheel:
- Some drivers participated in video chat calls.
- More than half responded to telephone calls using a variety of hands-free devices.
- Around 19% talked on their cell phones without hands-free devices.
- Another 19% took, posted or looked at videos or photos.
- Just under one-third sent or received text messages.
- A little less than one-quarter sent or reviewed emails.
- Around 23% admitted to reading, glancing at or posting on social media.
- Some drivers watched movies or television shows on their phones.
- Around 21% surfed the internet.
These behaviors are dangerous enough for drivers of passenger vehicles, but when the driver is at the helm of an 18-wheeler, it increases the danger exponentially. Educating truck drivers on these dangers is only one part of the equation in stopping this behavior. Employers need to use technology to monitor their drivers and make them face appropriate consequences for breaking the rules.
Even if a trucking company could keep its drivers from giving in to dangerous distractions, not everyone would comply. Those drivers could end up causing an accident in which you suffer serious injuries or lose a loved one. If that happens, you may have legal options to pursue the compensation you deserve.