When you see a semi-truck driver in California, you might be wondering how long he’s been driving and how focused he really is on the road. It’s no secret that distracted driving is a big problem for truck drivers that puts the rest of us at risk for being in a serious accident. A collision with an 80,000-pound loaded commercial truck will result in catastrophic injuries, so it’s critical that truckers keep their eyes and minds on the road at all times. Unfortunately that’s not always the reality.

Common Trucker Distractions That Cause Accidents on California Roads

According to a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) study, texting is the most dangerous distraction for drivers. The study found that people who text and drive have a 23 percent greater risk of being in a crash or a near-crash incident over people not texting while driving. Talking on a cellphone is also a huge risk factor. Here are some other sobering facts from the VTTI study:

  • When a trucker reaches for his cellphone, he’s almost seven times more likely to cause an accident.
  • When a trucker dials his cellphone, he’s six times more likely to cause an accident.

While talking and texting are big concerns, here are some other common trucker distractions:

  • Eating. If a trucker is eating, one hand is not on the wheel. In addition, he can become distracted by unwrapping food and cleaning up spills.
  • Using a dispatch device. According to the VTTI study, when a trucker uses a dispatch device, he’s almost nine times more likely to cause an accident.
  • Looking at a map. The VTTI study found that when a trucker looks at a map, he’s seven times more likely to cause an accident.
  • Using a navigational device. While these are useful for finding a location, the trucker’s eyes are off the road when he’s looking at the screen, not to mention programming or resetting it with only one hand on the wheel.
  • Adjusting the radio. The trucker’s eyes are off the road and one hand is off the wheel when he’s searching for music or news.

April is National Distracted Driving Month and it’s always a good time for truckers to focus on not engaging in these driving practices. So should the rest of us. Let’s all pledge to avoid distractions this month.

If you or your family member was hit by a big-rig truck, it could have been because the driver was engaging in one of these distractions. Fill out the online form on this page for a free consultation. And share this information on National Distracted Driving Month with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982