Distracted driving is responsible for thousands of accidents each year – and nearly all of these are preventable. While it’s bad enough when just anyone causes an accident due to distracted driving, it can be much worse when commercial truck drivers are responsible. Here are some things you need to know about distracted driving before your employees hit the open road.
- The FMCSA, or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, considers distracted driving to be anything that involves reaching for items, dialing or texting on a phone, reading, or taking your hands off the wheel to do something else.
- FMCSA has regulations in place that prohibit commercial drivers from using hand-held mobile devices while driving, with the exception of commercial fleet management devices, or when contacting appropriate authorities during an emergency.
- When a driver texts or makes a phone call, his eyes are off the road for an average of four seconds. During this short amount of time, a truck can travel more than 300 feet when going 55 mph.
- Commercial drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident, and those who dial mobile phones are 6 times more likely.
- Hands-free devices are usually allowed.
- There are a number of penalties that may occur if a commercial driver is caught driving while distracted, including being fined up $2,750 and being disqualified from driving for up to 120 days. Additionally, the employer may be impacted as well, facing up to $11,000 in fines if it is proven that they knowingly allowed drivers to use mobile devices while driving, as well as a negative SMS rating.
In addition to the enormous safety concerns associated with distracted driving, there is also huge potential for damage to your fleet vehicles. This can be costly on a couple different levels for your company – both in terms of repairs and in the time your vehicle is out of commission. Make it a priority to educate your drivers on the possible consequences of distracted driving.