Can Technology Help Curb Distracted Truck Driving?
A distracted truck driver’s vehicle can travel more than a football field in the time it takes to read a text. When the vehicle in question weighs up to 80,000 pounds, any inattention on the part of the driver poses an enormous hazard. And while there’s technology that can reduce the impact of distracted driving, trucking companies keep dragging their feet when it comes to implementation. Continue reading to learn more about these advances and find out ways you can protect yourself after a truck crash.
Distracted Truck Driving Is More Common Than You Think
In 2017, the trucking technology company Zendrive studied 3 million anonymous truck drivers over the course of three months. During the study period, the drivers made 570 million trips and drove 5.6 billion miles. Shockingly, on 88% of these trips, the truckers used their phones while driving. On average, drivers spent 3.5 minutes of every hour looking at their phone screens.
RELATED ARTICLE: Trucking Companies Need to Invest in Life-Saving Technology
The problem may be even worse than this study indicates. The study only focused on mobile phone use, but truck drivers today are surrounded by a host of distractions, including digital readouts that help them navigate, communicate, and manage their vehicles’ fuel economy. Every single one of these devices can tempt a trucker to take their eyes off the road for just a few seconds, which is more than long enough to cause a deadly wreck.
A Distracted Truck Driver Is More Likely to Cause a Serious Truck Wreck
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver inattention is the leading factor in motor vehicle crashes, with 80% of wrecks involving a distracted driver. The FMCSA also reports that truck drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event (which usually means a wreck or a near-collision).
Technology Can Predict and Prevent Distracted Driving
Many technologies available today can reduce the likelihood of deadly wrecks due to distracted truck driving. Trucking companies and drivers can and should implement:
- Systems that block cell phone use in moving vehicles
- In-cab video systems that track driver behavior
- Telematics systems that can identify patterns of hard braking, veering, and other driving behaviors associated with distraction
- Artificial intelligence-powered systems that track fatigue, inattention, and other factors
- Hands-free communication systems
While none of these solutions are perfect, they give truck drivers additional tools and incentives to help them drive responsibly.
Unfortunately, many trucking companies are more concerned with their profit margins than highway safety. Rather than invest in technology that can prevent collisions, they prioritize extra profits over human lives.
RELATED ARTICLE: Who Is Liable in a Trucking Accident, the Trucker or the Company?
Fleet Policies Need to Play a Role in Eliminating Distraction
Technology alone can’t eliminate distracted driving. While most trucking companies have policies regarding cell phone use and distracted driving in general, many companies do little to enforce these rules. Often, when a truck wreck lawyer investigates a crash, they find that a “zero tolerance” distracted driving policy was routinely ignored or that the trucking company even encouraged phone use behind the wheel.
At Seattle Truck Law, we routinely demand drivers’ electronic data and personnel files, and we also review trucking company policies to identify everyone who contributed to a truck wreck. We work diligently and leave no stone unturned to hold the negligent parties who injured our clients accountable.
How Can I Prove Distracted Driving Caused a Truck Wreck?
After a crash, most truck drivers will deny that they were driving while distracted. However, a skilled truck wreck lawyer may be able to uncover and preserve evidence that documents negligent driving behaviors. While not every tractor-trailer contains in-cab cameras, sensors, and tracking hardware, many of them do.
In addition, a truck driver’s cell phone records, electronic logbooks, and other documents can clarify their behavior in the moments preceding a collision. If you act quickly after a truck wreck, your lawyer may be able to preserve data from these devices and use it as evidence to build a strong claim on your behalf.
RELATED ARTICLE: Why Trucking Companies Destroy Evidence and How You Can Stop Them
Seattle Truck Law: We Fight for Truck Wreck Victims in Washington
Digging through all the evidence and data after a large truck crash requires resources and specialized knowledge, and most truck wreck victims (and even most attorneys) can’t do it on their own. At Seattle Truck Law, our team of experienced lawyers understands how to preserve and interpret the complex evidence in a truck accident case, including evidence from in-cab recording systems and other electronic devices.
CMV driving tips — Driver distraction. (2015, March 31). Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/driver-safety/cmv-driving-tips-driver-distraction
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. (2012, May). New rule: No texting while operating a CMV [fact sheet]. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/driver-safety/distracted-driving/no-texting-rule-fact-sheet
Zendrive. (2018, April). Zendrive’s 2018 distracted driving snapshot: What we learned from driving 100 billion miles. Author: San Francisco, CA. Retrieved from https://d1x6dm64pjo2h2.cloudfront.net/casestudies/Zendrive_Distracted_Driving_2018.pdf
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.