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How to keep distracted driving truck accidents from happening

Written by Michael Leizerman 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.

About Michael Leizerman

Michael Leizerman is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable and the managing partner at E.J. Leizerman & Associates. Michael litigates major trucking collision cases across the United States. He has co-counseled with lawyers in 18 states and has received several top-reported state truck accident settlements. Michael is the author of "Litigating Truck Accident Cases." He is past president of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Lawyer Litigation Group. Michael lectures throughout the United States on truck accident litigation and works with other injury attorneys from across the country. Michael has a commercial driver's license.
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