Distracted driving is dangerous and more drivers than ever are admitting to using their smartphones while driving.
A Leading Cause of Highway Deaths
More than 3,000 people die every year from cashes caused by distracted driving. According to an analysis of over 65 million vehicle trips, distracted driving occured in 36 percent of trips nationwide over a six-month period.
Phones Are a Major Distraction
The number of motorists who admit to using phones while driving continues to rise. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly half (49 percent) of drivers reported recently talking on a hand-held phone while driving and nearly 35 percent have sent a text or email. Although many people believe that hands-free phone technology is safer than using a hand-held device, the National Safety Council found that drivers who use any kind of phone technology while driving are 50% less aware of their driving environment.
Truckers Are Not Immune
It is true that professional truck drivers are typically considered safer drivers, with an overall crash rate that is 29% lower than other vehicles. However, according to driver safety intelligence company, SmartDrive Systems, the truck drivers that are distracted by mobile devices are at the highest risk for problems compared with drivers distracted by other practices, such as smoking or paperwork. And drivers distracted by mobile phones are three times more likely to do engage in other risky behaviors like exceeding the speed limit or ignoring a stoplight.
The increased use of phones will driving by truck drivers led the FMCSA to implement stricter penalties. Violations cover any cell phone use while driving, including reaching for, holding, dialing or texting on the device. Penalties increased to a maximum fine of $14,739 for the carrier company and $3,685 for drivers. And they're pushing for those regulations to apply to all drivers nationwide.