According to the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration, there were roughly 475,000 police-reported crashes involving trucks in 2016. The most common cause of these accidents was reportedly speeding. The second? Distractions.
Of course, it’s not just trucks. Nine people are killed every day in the U.S. because of distracted driving. The problem is so severe that there’s a national month dedicated to raising awareness about this problem. It takes place in April.
Many truck wreck lawyers look at this problem as the “new drunk driving,” and because of the repercussions are so severe, people are looking towards technology to put a stop to this epidemic. But how can technology eliminate distractions and reduce truck wreck numbers?
Solutions Tailored for the New Era
It may seem counterintuitive at first glance. After all, many can attribute the reason behind why so many truck drivers get distracted on the road to technology, particularly smartphones. However, using a phone while driving is only one of the many distractions drivers can face on the road:
- Changing the radio or music;
- Checking GPS or map;
- Eating and drinking;
- Talking to a passenger;
- Taking your eyes off the main road to look at road signs, etc.
And these actions don’t even have to be complex or go on for too long. If you take your eyes off the road for as little as five seconds, it could be enough for you to lose control of the vehicle.
There is no doubt that technology can be a cause for distraction, but if you look at the features designed to prevent disturbances specifically, the effects can be overwhelmingly positive.
- Trucking companies and drivers alike can benefit from a wide array of measures that can minimize distractions and, as such, prevent dangerous incidents while on the road:
- Some systems can block cell phone use in moving vehicles;
- Trucking companies can install surveillance equipment inside the truck to monitor driver behavior;
- The GPS, combined with an onboard diagnostics system, can record and map tactionior of the car, including speed, veering, braking, and others.
- Companies can have a “hands-free communications only” policy.
- There are many available apps a driver can install on their phone to prevent distractions.
The DMV has a list of recommended applications trucking companies can use.
It Starts with the Company
While the technology for preventing distracted driving is available, trucking companies still have to take charge and impose strict policies regarding driver behavior.
Moreover, companies should also make an effort to reinforce these policies when it becomes clear that one of their truck drivers have broken a rule. A zero tolerance policy might seem strict in some cases, but in this particular instance, it might be the only way to prevent a tragedy.
Trucking companies are also legally responsible for the behavior of the drivers they employ. Even if the reckless behavior of the driver caused the accident, it’s possible for the company also to be held responsible for not being diligent enough in how they hire their employees.
Trucking fleet can impose a set of rules the drivers must follow to prevent these situations, as well as clear punishments that they impose if an employee does not respect these rules.
Drivers must also be completely aware of the company’s policy and understand what the consequences for their actions are. So, you may want to organize a few training sessions for your employed drivers.
Back to You
The national trends for distracted driving are very alarming, and it’s vital to take action right away to ensure everyone’s safety on the roads.
For truckers, it starts with companies imposing strict rules regarding driver behavior. That way, truck drivers will be more incentivized to pay attention to the road and not let outside elements get in the way of their concentration. And technology definitely has a significant role to play here.