Because truckers spend so much time behind the wheel of their trucks, it can be very tempting for them to multi-task. Truck driver distraction happens to be one of the top causes of deadly trucking accidents. In most all cases, those in the smaller passenger car will end up seriously injured—or killed—due to the disparity between an 80,000-pound semi-truck and a 3,000-pound passenger vehicle. This fact places a greater burden on the truck driver to look out for the safety of other drivers on the roadways. One of the ways truck drivers can do this is to cut down on the distractions they face, including the following most common truck driver distractions:
- Cellphone Use: The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reported the following statistics: A truck driver talking on a cell phone while driving is about 1.3 times more likely to be involved in a collision, actually dialing the cell phone makes it 5.9 times more likely that collision will occur, text messaging increases the chances of a crash a whopping 23.2 times and simply reaching for a device increases the chances of an accident by 6.7 times. Recognizing the dangers of a truck driver texting, the federal government has placed a ban on texting for all truck drivers.
- Eating: eating is another well-known distraction for truckers. Because truck drivers only get paid for the time they spend behind the wheel, many of them eat while driving. Some research places eating while driving as nearly as dangerous as texting while driving, as truck drivers who eat while driving increase their chance of a collision by 3.6 times. Sometimes the danger comes when food is spilled and the driver looks down to assess the damage, or when a driver is reaching for food or drink. In any case, the amount of time the driver takes his or her eyes off the road while eating a meal and driving can lead to a serious, or even fatal accident.
- Looking at a map: looking at a map can take a trucker’s eyes off the road for crucial seconds. The driver may be in heavy traffic and unsure of which exit to take or which way to turn. He or she places a map on the steering wheel, believing it is possible to drive and figure out where to go at the same time. This is a dangerous belief, as, just like texting or eating, any time the driver’s eyes are away from the road for as little as five seconds, the truck (at 55 mph) can travel the length of a football field. Imagine how much can happen over that distance, and you can see why trying to read a map while driving a truck is a very bad idea.
- Distractions along the roadways: distractions, such as construction, or another auto accident can cause a truck driver to look away for a critical few moments. When the trucker focuses once more on the road ahead, there could be a slowed car in front of them. Trucks are unable to stop quickly, and an accident could ensue.
- Fiddling with the radio or GPS: these are distractions that can lead to accidents, especially when the radio or GPS device is a touch-screen. The eyes and/or hands are away from the task of driving, engaged in other activities.
- Driver fatigue: is a serious issue with truck drivers and can lead to greater levels of driver distraction. Truck drivers are allowed to drive for eleven hours at a time. Anyone who has ever spent eleven straight hours behind the wheel of their car understands how difficult it is to stay alert and refrain from engaging in other activities.
If you have been involved in a trucking accident which was the result of truck driver distraction, it is important that you speak to an experienced Denver truck accident attorney as soon as possible who will be your advocate during this difficult time by protecting your rights.
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If someone you love has been injured in a trucking accident in Denver, contact Colorado trucking accident attorney Robert Paysinger today. Robert can answer all of your questions and let you know what kind of compensation you may be entitled to under Colorado law. Our law firm offers FREE case consultations and can be reached at 303. 279.0221.
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