Are There Too Many Distraction in Today's Big Rigs?

April 3, 2012

Many of the new and used big Semi-tractors now have devices available that can be distracting to the driver. There has been some talk of limiting what gadgets are allowed. Currently there is a device is available that would be attached to the truck and be in effect while it is in motion. During this time, no cell phone, texting, CD's, television, bluetooth, wired headphones, or any other distraction would be operable. The only thing that could be used is direct communication, such as a CB radio.

The company manufacturing this device is currently trying to interest the U.S. Department of Transportation into making this a mandatory part of any truck operating on the nation's highways. As of this date, this has not happened, but it may in the near future.

There are thousands of accidents each year involving Semi's as well as other types of trucks. There are even more accidents involving cars. A review of semi-truck accidents finds some are caused by texting or talking on a cell phone. In one incident, a truck driver talking a cell phone lost control and hit a van. Nine people died, including the driver.

In November 2011, The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration banned the use of cell phones by drivers of large trucks and buses. This was after it was shown that 16 per cent of 2009 traffic fatalities were caused by the use of this device. The FMCSA report showed that a commercial driver, when searching and reaching for a hand held phone, is three times more likely to be in a crash, while actually dialing the phone makes it six times more likely.

Truck drivers who violate this rule are fined $2,750 for each offence. After two violations, their commercial driver's license is suspended. The company that allows their driver to use hand-held cell phones is fined $11,000 for each occurrence. States may add additional fines and violation penalties as well.

Many other things can cause an accident when driving a truck that weighs thousands of pounds. These can include inexperienced drivers, speeding, missing a turn, equipment failure, a blown tire, or truck break down. Also involved are weather or highway conditions, and passenger cars improperly driven or that have DUI drivers.

New trucks, such as available in Chicago, have always been carefully checked out during manufacturing. Used vehicles should all have a careful inspection prior to purchase to make sure all parts and additional equipment is in good working order. When this has been done your safety on the road will depend on your full attention at all times.

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