Q

What is being done to combat distracted driving by commercial truck drivers?

A

Distracted driving means a driver is not focusing his full attention on the road. This is dangerous and irresponsible behavior for any driver, but when the driver is operating a fully loaded 18-wheeler, he is a hazard to himself and everyone around him.

Distraction comes in several forms—manual, visual, and cognitive. While all three are unsafe, researchers have found that cognitive distraction is especially dangerous because it increases the time it takes a driver to notice a potential driving hazard as well as the time it takes the driver to react to the situation.

Recent Steps to Combat the Distracted Trucker Problem

In recent years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has taken steps to reduce distracted driving by commercial truck drivers. In 2010, it banned all forms of texting and driving. Later, in November 2011, the FMCSA banned the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.

The FMCSA continues to encourage truck drivers to avoid distraction behind the wheel and most recently offered the following tips:

  • Focus on driving. Fixating on signs, billboards, or the paperwork you need to complete can distract your mind, making it difficult to react to changing road conditions.
  • Avoid smoking. Finding a cigarette and lighter, lighting the cigarette, and holding the cigarette are all very distracting activities that take your hands off the wheel and your attention from the road.
  • Turn your cell phone off. Using a cell phone while you drive fits into all of the distracted driving categories. You have to use your eyes to find the phone, your hands to hold the phone, and your mind to carry on a conversation.
  • Avoid eating and drinking. Eating or drinking while driving requires you to remove one or both hands from the steering wheel in order to juggle the food or beverage.

These tips, while intended for commercial truck drivers, are appropriate for any driver. Please take time to share them with your friends on Facebook, Google Plus, or Twitter. Doing so may prevent an accident on I-90 near Rockford or even save a life.