Beebe and O'Neil

Report: Despite dangers, truckers still texting and driving

Truck drivers are required to operate their vehicles with an extra level of precaution due to the size and structure of their vehicles. Unfortunately, those safety precautions are not always observed, especially when it comes to distracted driving and truck accidents.

Truck drivers passing through Connecticut roads are expected to keep their focus on their driving, but some drivers use their cellphone to text and drive. Sometimes this behavior is the result of boredom, wanting to communicate with family members or other truck drivers or simply trying to stay awake behind the wheel. Not only is it unlawful for a commercial driver to use a hand-held phone while driving, but all of these behaviors are also highly risky and put other passenger vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists in harm’s way.

Some cities have taken extra steps to find out the depth of the problem by installing cameras near certain roadways. Those cameras have showed that texting and driving by truck drivers was more common than expected. Even though truckers are informed about the dangers of texting and driving, it seems the practice still goes on, which can increase the chances of a truck accident.

Cognitive tasks like web browsing, sending emails or texting on a cellphone require more of a driver’s attention than he or she may realize. When that driver loses focus on the road for even a few seconds, he or she loses track of traffic patterns and instantly increases the likelihood of a collision.

The distraction may seem fleeting, but it only takes a moment for a driver to lose control of a vehicle and cause a catastrophic accident. A recent article points to data from the Department of Transportation that shows that more than 15,000 truck drivers received tickets for using their cellphones in 2013. Unfortunately, some truckers learn too late that distracted driving has big consequences; and this lesson often comes at the expense of the victims.

Source: ABC News, "Truck drivers texting while driving caught on tape," April 29, 2014

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