There are many ways in which truckers can create accidents by way of improper driving. While many might immediately think of alcohol and drug abuse, or even speeding or other behaviors that can potentially cause trouble, research has also shown that texting while driving can also cause car accidents. As many may be aware, this may then result in injury or death.
According to research conducted by the FMCSA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “texting means manually entering text into, or reading text from, an electronic device.”
This encompasses many different aspects of texting, which includes, but is not limited to:
- Short message services
- Instant messaging
- A command or request to access a web page
- Pressing more than a single button to initiate or terminate a call using a mobile telephone
- Engaging in any other form of electronic text retrieval or entry for present or future communication
Additionally, the FMCSA points out that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event, such as a crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation, and so forth are 23.2 times greater for CMV drivers who choose to text while driving as opposed to those CMV drivers who do not. The reason for this is quite simple – no matter how “short” sending a text message is, it still requires the individual to take their eyes off the road for the duration that a text is being sent.
At 55 mph, according to the FMCSA, this would be the same as a driver travelling approximately 371 feet (which is roughly the size of a football field) without looking at the road. As such, there is simply no way that the driver will be able to see what is in front of them, let alone react to it.
In order to combat this important issue, the FMCSA has enacted strict penalties and fines that would work to discourage truckers from engaging in this unsafe practice.
Fines and penalties include:
- Penalties up to $2,750 for drivers and up to $11,000 for employers who allow, or even require, drivers to use hand-held communication devices for texting while driving.
- Disqualification – In the event that a driver receives multiple convictions for texting while driving a CMV, it is possible that a driver can outright receive a disqualification by the FMCSA. Pending on the situation at hand, the driver could potentially be disqualified for up to 120 days.
When one looks at the nature of distracted driving, these penalties can be easily understood. As mentioned, although texting while driving seems like a very simple activity, that would not take one’s attention away from the roadway for an extended period of time, the exact opposite is true.
No matter how short the activity, even taking one’s eyes off the road for a second can cause major injuries and even death! As noted by the FMCSA, dispatching devices that are a part of the fleet management system should be used for other purposes, and not for texting. Ensuring drivers understand these rules will help keep roadways safe.