Experience you can trust – a local practice reaching back five generations
Photo of William H. Wilhoit

Common Sources of Distraction for Truck Drivers

Sometimes accidents with semi trucks are the result of maintenance issues, shifting cargo, weather conditions or sleep deprivation. Another growing cause is distracted driving. Whereas all drivers can give in to distractions and get into an accident, truckers face more severe consequences if they cause a crash because of the size and power of their vehicles. Any of these sources may be responsible for your accident with and injury from a big rig.

Using a mobile phone

Truckers also face the temptation to use their mobile phones while driving. However, it is illegal for commercial drivers to do any of the following while operating their vehicles:

  • Reach for a phone not in close proximity
  • Hold a phone
  • Read or send a text, email or other message
  • Read any other material on the device
  • Press multiple buttons at once

Instead, drivers are to use voice or one-touch commands, and earpieces or speakerphone. Similarly, truckers should use discretion in deciding when to use dispatching devices because they pose the same risks as phones do.

Adjusting settings

Whether it is the seat, music or GPS device, truckers should wait until they pull over to adjust these. It is understandable that listening to music is a very important pastime for those who log long hours on the lonely road. However, it does not excuse the distraction of messing with the radio or scrolling through iTunes. Navigation systems and riding comfort are likewise essential, but truckers should prepare routes and adjust seat settings before hitting the road or when at a rest stop.

Eating and drinking

Truckers are often on a tight schedule, which is not their fault, and it is common for drivers of all types to eat and drink while driving. Still, truck drivers should not maneuver their semis with a burger or soda in hand. Anything that takes their eyes off the road or their hands off the steering wheel is a danger. Taking meal breaks is the safer option.

Looking at scenery

One of the perks of being a trucker is getting to see the beauties of America. Both natural landscapes and manmade sights are wonderful to look at, but truckers are not on a road trip. Their job is to safely transport goods across the country, which entails keeping their eyes forward. Even billboards can be distracting and cause a driver to miss a stoplight or another car’s movement.

The type of distraction that led to your accident and injury can determine the legal consequences for the driver and trucking company. Consult an attorney on how to approach your case.