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The dangerous tasks that distract truck drivers

June 17, 2015

Distracted driving is risky for the operator of any vehicle in Kentucky, but particularly for those behind the wheel of tractor-trailers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines a distraction as any activity that could take the driver’s focus off the road. The agency notes that there are three types of distractions. The first, manual, refers to an activity that physically causes a driver to take a hand off the wheel. A visual distraction is an activity that diverts the driver’s eyes. Lastly, distracting a driver cognitively means the person’s mental focus is not on driving.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that truckers who text and drive are breaking the law. The U.S. Department of Transportation mandates that truck operators are not permitted to type on or read from an electronic device while driving.

Using a cellphone is just one of the many distractions that can take a driver’s eyes off the road. Truckers may also engage in the following:

  • Eating: Holding the job of a truck driver means spending long hours on the road, which often equates to eating meals in the cab.
  • Reaching: When a truck driver takes a hand off the wheel to locate something in the cab, it is considered a distraction.
  • Reading: Truckers may rely on navigation systems to get where they are going, but they will have to take their eyes off the road in order to read the map.

Truckers are responsible for not only the large and potentially hazardous loads they carry, but also for the safety of themselves and others on the road. Engaging in these behaviors is flirting with disaster.