Schemery Zicolello

Distracted driving among truck drivers

Driving a commercial truck is a huge responsibility. Not only are truck drivers hauling goods from place to place, they are operating complex and dangerous pieces of equipment. A truck driver must give their undivided attention to the task.

In today's technology-driven world, however, it is very easy to become distracted while driving. Everything from GPS to texting and the internet can distract a driver from the road. These distractions can be especially dangerous for truck drivers since they are 23.2 times more likely to be in some sort of accident if they text.

To prevent distracted driving, federal authorities have passed serious restrictions on truck drivers. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers of commercial motor vehicles are prohibited from using hand-held devices while they drive. In fact, it is illegal for truck drivers to take any action on an electronic device that requires more than the touch of one button or voice commands.

These rules do allow a truck driver to talk on a cell phone. However, certain requirements must be met for cell phones to be allowed. First, a one-button or voice activated feature must be used to make, answer or end a call. Second, the driver must use either speaker phone or an ear piece while on the call. Finally, the driver must be able to access the phone without adjusting the truck's seatbelt.

These rules are in place to help prevent truck accidents. However, if an accident does occur because of an inattentive driver, accident victims have recourse. Not only will a distracted driver be subject to penalties under these rules, the driver could be held liable in court.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Distracted Driving," Accessed May 30, 2015

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