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Distracted truck drivers are a growing threat to public safety

San Antonio truck accident attorneyGenerally speaking, crashes caused by distracted driving have become a growing problem in recent years. Every time you embark on San Antonio roads, you are likely within the proximity of someone texting, programming a GPS, using an infotainment system, or multitasking behind the wheel. It's become so habitual in our driving culture that many people do it without even realizing it.

For truckers, distracted driving can be especially dangerous. A large commercial truck weighing up to 80,000 lbs. can easily careen out of control when a driver's eyes aren't on the road or hands aren't on the wheel. When a crash occurs, the consequences are often devastating and even fatal.

Distraction, a larger problem in the trucking industry

According to an article in the trucking magazine Freight Waves, a recent study by artificial intelligence startup Nauto concluded that distracted driving may be a larger problem than we think.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2017, approximately 3,166 people lost their lives across the United States due to distracted driving. Nauto, however, claims that this figure is underestimated, as many incidents of distracted driving are either not reported or can't be proven.

"There are many studies on distracted driving, and the numbers vary quite widely," said Jennifer Haroon, the chief operating officer at Nauto. "That is primarily because most of our traffic data here in the U.S., and also in other Western countries, is based on police-reportable collisions."

In 2018, Nauto monitored trucking fleets using their program. What they found was that more than 70 percent of crashes were attributed to distracted driving.

“Our data pretty consistently shows that mobile phones are one of the primary reasons for distracted driving," Haroon said. "Distraction can also be for various other reasons – like people doing paperwork in the cab, eating, drinking or even talking with others in the vehicle.”

What can be done to reduce distracted truck driving?

In order to mitigate this problem, Haroon suggested that the trucking fleet managers first acknowledge how large a problem distracted driving is. Furthermore, fleet managers should implement video technology to monitor driver behavior and use footage to provide effective safety training.

Video footage can also be matched up with traditional telematics. For example, telematics could determine that a trucker applied the brakes abruptly. Video footage, however, would confirm the reason for applying the brakes, including:

  • The trucker applied the brakes due to being cut off by another road users.
  • The trucker applied the brakes because he or she was distracted and happened to look up before recognizing a collision risk.

Distraction reportedly decreased by 40 percent among fleets that have implemented Nauto's autonomous in-cabin technology.

Fleet managers and drivers have a duty to stay attentive and alert behind the wheel. When their failure to do so results in someone getting injured or killed, they should be held accountable. If you were injured in a crash with a large commercial truck, get an experienced attorney at The Herrera Law Firm on your side.

We fight for the rights of injured motorists and their families throughout greater San Antonio. Contact us online today to schedule your free case evaluation.

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