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Why Truck Driver Distraction is on the Rise

Why Truck Driver Distraction is on the Rise

Truck drivers have an enormous responsibility to others on the road, as well as their employers, customers, and consumers as a whole. They are in charge of vehicles that are dozens of times heavier than the average vehicle, which means that they can cause catastrophic damage without even speeding. That’s why they’re required to go through CDL training and meet strict standards set by each state’s driver licensing department and the FMCSA.

Still, truck drivers are prone to the same temptations and mistakes as personal drivers. Truck driver distraction has been on the rise for a while, and as a result, accident numbers are increasing. Learn more about this scary trend, and if you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, call John H. Ruby & Associates at 502-373-8044.

In-Cab Technology

In-cab technology has advanced so rapidly that it’s basically a completely different beast from what truck drivers in the early 2000s and ‘90s were working with. Modern commercial vehicles have GPS systems, communication tools, and even consoles that can be jailbroken to provide entertainment to drivers and their passengers. Some consoles are designed to have entertainment features that should only be used to 

While some aspects of these changes make driving safer for truck drivers, other aspects make it much more dangerous. GPS systems can help drivers avoid the hassle of paper maps, but they too can be difficult to navigate. Complex, non-user-friendly systems take drivers’ eyes off the road and put them in danger. Communication systems make it easier for drivers to focus on who’s texting and calling, rather than what’s happening on the road around them.

As far as entertainment consoles go, it is obvious why those are a danger. Even if well-meaning manufacturers only intend them to be used while a vehicle is stopped for the night, there are undoubtedly drivers who will use them on the road.

High-Pressure Work Environment

Truck driving is an incredibly stressful and demanding job. There are fewer drivers than there are jobs, a gap that only widens each year. As a result, companies put unrealistic workloads on their drivers and expect them to meet impossible deadlines. This type of mental stress takes a toll on drivers’ well-being, and they often turn to distractions to keep themselves from focusing on the task at hand. As a driver becomes more fatigued and stressed, the temptation to play with a phone or watch a movie while driving only increases.

Drivers who get extra incentives when they meet tight deadlines have additional motives to engage in distracted driving. If they can minimize their breaks and squeeze a few more hours in each day, they stand to earn hundreds or thousands more. They may rely on distractions to keep themselves from falling asleep.

Greater Availability of Distractions

This isn’t unique to truck drivers; distractions across the board are more widely available. Drivers aren’t limited to a basic radio station and whatever music they can store on a CD. When they’re behind the wheel, they can turn to phones, tablets, in-cab entertainment consoles, and more. When entertainment is literally one reach away, it is incredibly hard to ignore. 

This is particularly true for truck drivers, who have to put enormous mental energy and concentration into their work. As that focus weakens, a driver has a whole list of options available to them. Even though truck drivers know that they are at greater risk of causing catastrophic damage, they may also become complacent if they have a long history of safe driving. Once a driver believes that an accident cannot happen to them, they are dangerously close to taking huge risks and causing fatal accidents.

The trucking industry must address these issues and take steps to keep drivers in Kentucky and elsewhere safe.

Start Your Accident Claim with John H. Ruby & Associates

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a truck collision in Kentucky, let’s talk about your legal options and your next steps. Set up a free consultation with John H. Ruby & Associates today. Just call us at 502-373-8044 or send us a message online to have a team member reach out to you.