Twenty years ago, the phrase “distracted driving” wasn’t common. Instead, safety efforts to combat drunk driving and increase the use of safety belts were the main safe driving concerns. Today, we all have our cell phones and busy schedules, including commercial truck drivers.
Truckers Aren’t Above Distracted Driving Rules Because They’re Professionals
Driving while distracted is a fatal threat when anyone does it, but when truckers do it, it can be a literal larger threat to commuter safety. Our communities need and benefit from the work commercial drivers do every day. That doesn’t mean commercial drivers should feel entitled to do what they want while driving.
In fact, truckers are held to strict standards regarding cell phone use and texting while driving. They are banned from engaging in the following actions:
- Using a handheld device while driving.
- Dialing more than one button when operating a mobile device.
- Maneuvering recklessly to try to find the phone in the vehicle while driving.
Basically, truck and other commercial drivers are fully expected to focus on their driving. The above rules ban texting, dialing numbers, talking on the phone with the device in a driver’s hand. Truckers can’t be typing emails while driving.
If law enforcement catches commercial drivers violating distracted driving rules, drivers can face driving restrictions and be fined thousands of dollars; so can their employers.
Rules for Commercial Drivers Are Rules for Their Employers
The companies behind the individual truckers are as responsible for on-the-road safety as the drivers we physically see on Texas roads every day. Employers are responsible for finding and training qualified drivers. They are responsible for requiring compliance to the federal and state distracted driving rules that apply to their drivers.
When employers don’t foster safe driving methods, drivers might prioritize speed and quantity of deliveries versus safety to keep their jobs. That unethical choice impacts society’s safety by leading to truck accidents. It can lead to driving under the influence, driver fatigue and, of course, distracted driving.
Understanding Is Not Enough
For at least several years now, we have been inundated with warnings about driving while distracted and texting while driving specifically. Still, about nine people are killed in distracted driving accidents every day in the U.S.
Clearly, education hasn’t been enough to rid our roads of dangers like texting drivers. Research suggests that more than education, punishment can do more to combat distracted driving. Data shows that companies who enforce distracted driving laws among their drivers have better safety records.
The Problem Won’t Be Solved in a Day
As current traffic accident trends show, too many people drive while distracted. Truckers are included in that group of irresponsible drivers. Most drivers have learned and understand that distracted driving is dangerous. They still do it. People still die.
No matter the approach, distracted driving won’t be solved overnight. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a distracted driving accident, don’t seek answers alone. Contact a truck accident lawyer who asks the right questions and can help hold the negligent trucker or company accountable.