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Distracted Truckers a Cause of Alabama Tractor-Trailer Accidents

Apr 10, 2013 - Birmingham by

Distracted driving is responsible for thousands of accidents and injuries each year and is always dangerous behind the wheel. However, distracted driving can be especially dangerous when it is done by a commercial driver who has a large truck under his control or who is responsible for transporting passengers. 1131636_no_cells

Our Alabama trucking accident lawyers know that commercial drivers are expected to pay careful attention when behind the wheel. It’s an appropriate focus as April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month nationwide. A new survey conducted by Aegis Mobility aims to find out whether professional drivers are actually living up to their obligations and avoiding distracted driving, or whether drivers are paying attention to things that they shouldn’t be as they travel the roads.

Distracted Driving Survey For Fleet Operators
The Department of Transportation has banned texting and driving for all drivers of large trucks and buses. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that the ban was an important safety step. The civil and criminal penalties for a driver who breaks the rules could be up to $2,750.

Of course, just because laws are passed doesn’t mean everyone follows them. Furthermore, texting and driving is just one of many potential distractions that a commercial or professional driver might engage in. A driver might also be distracted by entering information into his navigation system; by eating his lunch or dinner; by engaging in grooming activities or by doing any other activity that involves paying attention to something other than driving.

To determine how widespread distracted driving is and how big a problem it is among commercial drivers, Aegis Mobility is conducting a third-annual Workplace Distracted Driving Survey. Aegis Mobility is encouraging commercial fleet operators to complete their survey in order to get more information.

According to FleetOwner.com, the goal of the survey is to analyze the attitudes of corporations toward employees’ use of mobile devices when they are driving professionally. The survey is being sent out not just to commercial fleet operators, but also to risk managers and safety professionals who may be best equipped to know the policies of the trucking company and how those policies address the issue of distracted driving.

The survey results, which will be released a month after the survey has been completed, will shed some important light on how big of a problem distracted driving is within the trucking industry.

Trucking companies should have strict rules in place against distracted driving. Companies may wish to have policies that go beyond simply enforcing DOT rules preventing texting and should consider outlining limitations regarding safety procedures and the importance of driver focus.

A trucking company could be held responsible if a driver was doing something dangerous behind the wheel, whether that was texting or watching a DVD from a portable player on his passenger seat. In any case, an employer who doesn’t have a clear policy forbidding various types of distracted driving could potentially be considered negligent not just for their employee’s bad choices but also for their own failure to be proactive in setting safety policies that protect the public.

Additional Resources:

Kolcraft settles defective play yard charges, March 12, 2013, By James Limbach, Consumer Affairs

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