Distracted driving is a problem that seems to have only been made worse with the introduction of smartphones and other mobile devices.
Each year, distracted drivers contribute to thousands of deaths on the nation’s highways, and even trucking professionals are not immune to the dangers of distracted driving.
Currently, one of the biggest problems facing the trucking industry when it comes to driving distracted is the issue of work demands taking attention off the road. According to Work Truck Online, a poll conducted by the National Safety Council found that 46% of drivers questioned claimed that work demands, including emails and work messages, led to distractions behind the wheel.
81% of drivers in the poll also stated that they had witnessed distracted driving or accidents caused by distracted driving. Although most surveyed drivers stated that they felt obeying cellphone usage laws while on the road was very important, 65% of drivers claimed that not having a cellphone in the rig would cause them to make an additional trip to retrieve one if left behind.
All of this shows that distracted driving is a problem, that the causes of driving distracted are not always simple inattentiveness and that mobile device dependence on the road is growing despite laws and despite a desire to follow the law. In fact, for many drivers and fleet owners, constant communication is a must for interstate driving.
The obvious answer to these problems is to eliminate the usage of mobile devices on the road, but in today’s connected world, this is becoming increasingly difficult and unreasonable. As a result, trucking professionals and employers need to work together to better understand work demands and how they play a role in potential distractions. By reducing unnecessary communication with drivers and only making contact during certain time frames or during emergencies, it may be possible to reduce the chances for driving distracted and keep everyone safer on the road.