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How to keep distracted driving truck accidents from happening

Written by Steve Gursten Posted June 14th, 2017

Tips for avoiding distracted driving truck accidents include no texting, no dispatching devices, no hand-held phones and no eating or drinking while driving

Distracted driving truck accidents

Few – if any – things are more dangerous and potentially deadly than a distracted truck driver barreling along a crowded highway, behind the wheel of a fully loaded 80,000-pound tractor-trailer.

Indeed, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported on its “CMV Driving Tips – Driver Distraction” page that:

“A 2009 study found that 71 percent of large-truck crashes occurred when the truck driver was doing something besides driving the truck.”

The dangers of distracted driving are harrowing enough when they involve drivers of cars, pickup trucks and other passenger vehicles.

But when they’re generated by truckers navigating multi-ton commercial vehicles over thousands of highway miles, the prospect for disastrous truck accidents becomes lethally real.

That’s why it’s crucial that truckers — and trucking companies and safety managers — do anything and everything to ensure they stay focused on the task at hand: Safely trucking from Point A to Point B.

The FMCSA’s top 6 tips to avoid distracted driving truck accidents

To make the task of driving distraction-free a little easier, the FMCSA offers the following suggestions truck drivers:

  • Do not let objects outside of your truck distract you.
  • Do not text while driving.
  • Do not use a dispatching device while driving.
  • Do not dial a handheld phone while driving.
  • Do not read, write, or use paper maps while driving.
  • Avoid eating and drinking when driving.

FleetOwner’s tips for fleet managers and truck drivers to stop distracted driving truck accidents

In its excellent April 6, 2017, post, “Keeping your drivers focused in a world of distractions,” FleetOwner Newsline offered the following safety suggestions to prevent distracted driving-related truck accidents:

  • Truck drivers should play the “what-if” game, which requires truckers to be “‘constantly looking ahead and at drivers of other vehicles … [and] constantly asking themselves, “What if that driver has to switch lanes, or what if that equipment falls off that trailer.” They play that game to keep alert, and they’re ready to respond. Situational awareness is obviously key.’”
  • Cellphone blockers could be useful in terms of reducing distraction.
  • An in-cab camera system will pick up if a driver used a cellphone, and the manager will pick up on that.
  • Rule of thumb: When using GPS, always set have your driver set his or her destination before he or she leaves. Mount the phone or device so it remains hands-off through the drive.
  • Always watch where you’re going. The most common sources of accidents its some common form of inattention.
  • Take a break if you need to and get back on the road when you’re able to.
Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.