Truck driver distraction is one of the leading causes of truck crashes. There are three main types of distraction for truck drivers:
1. Visual — taking your eyes off the road;
2. Manual — taking your hands off the wheel; and
3. Cognitive — taking your mind off what you are doing.
Psychological studies of “inattentional blindness” explain how one may fail to see even when looking. For example, a driver talking on a cell phone may fail to comprehend that a traffic light has turned from green to red, even when looking directly at it.
Distractions from Text Messaging
Text messaging and equivalent activity have been deemed the most dangerous driver distraction in FMCSA‑sponsored research at Virginia Tech. Drivers who text while driving are more than 23.2 times more likely to get in an accident than non‑distracted drivers.
Texting drivers took their eyes off the forward roadway for an average of 4.6 seconds during the 6‑second interval immediately preceding a safety‑critical event. At 55 mph (or 80.7 feet per second), this equates to a driver traveling 371 feet, the approximate length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the roadway. At 65 mph (or 95.3 feet per second), the driver would have traveled approximately 439 feet without looking at the roadway.
Distractions from Cell Phones
Cell phones fit into each of the four major distraction categories. They are a visual distraction in that the driver may be required to take his or her eyes off the road to dial, auditory in that the driver is required to listen, biomechanical in that the driver must operate the phone manually, and cognitive, as the driver engages in a mental task other than driving.
Peer‑reviewed studies using a variety of methodologies agree that distraction due to talking on a cell phone while driving produces a fourfold increase in accident risk, equivalent to 0.08 gr/percent blood alcohol, and there is no appreciable difference in that regard between handheld and hands‑free cell phones. However, the Virginia Tech/DOT study, which has not been subjected to peer review, reported 5.9 times greater risk in dialing a cell phone, but essentially no increase of risk in talking and listening on a cell phone, either handheld or hands free.
Evidence in Distracted Driver Cases
As a law firm for truck accident victims, we do not need to rely on witnesses for evidence of texting or cell phone usage while driving. The phones and phone company records provide the needed evidence.
During an investigation in a truck crash, we will want to know what the driver was doing immediately prior to the accident. Were they carefully watching the road, or were they distracted by using a cell phone, or perhaps eating or some other distracting activity?
Contact Us If You’ve Been Injured Due to Truck Driver Negligence
Please call me if you or a loved one has been hurt, or a loved one has been killed, as a result of truck driving negligence. You deserve answers for why your accident was caused. You also deserve to recover the full amount allowed under law for the damages and injuries sustained.
I will work tirelessly to seek to hold accountable those responsible for your injuries and damages.