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The most common truck driver distractions

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents, Truck Accidents

Few things might worry road users in Georgia more than a driver behind the wheel of a 40-ton commercial vehicle who is not paying attention. Distracted driving accidents are often deadly because the motorists who cause them do not brake or take evasive action to avoid crashing, and they are exponentially more dangerous when the vehicle in question is a semi-tractor trailer. To get a better understanding of the problem, researchers from Virginia Tech University conducted a study to identify the most common commercial driver distractions.

Mobile electronic devices

The researchers tracked the driving behavior of truck drivers from seven commercial vehicle fleets, and the results were somewhat surprising. Most people think of cellphones when distracted driving is discussed, but using or adjusting a mobile electronic device was the fifth most common distraction among the truck drivers studied. The distractions observed most often were reaching for objects, reading, using or monitoring truck devices or equipment, and adjusting clothing.

A deadly problem

The researchers gathered their data by watching footage recorded by cameras mounted in truck cabs over a two-year period, and it reveals that distraction is worryingly common among commercial vehicle drivers. This is a serious issue because a 2009 study found that more than 70% of truck crashes involve a commercial vehicle driver who was distracted in some way.

Monitoring equipment

Truck drivers are often distracted, but cellphones are rarely to blame. Tackling truck driver distraction is an important road safety issue because it is a contributory factor in most commercial vehicle accidents. The Virginia Tech researchers installed five video cameras in each tractor-trailer cab to monitor truck driver distractions. If this equipment was mandated in all heavy commercial vehicles, accidents involving distracted truck drivers could become less common and lives could be saved.

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