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Fleet owners may be ignoring threat of distraction among truckers

In a recent AAA survey, 88 percent of respondents expressed their belief that distracted driving is on the rise, more so than aggressive driving or drunk or drugged driving. Truck fleet managers in Missouri should especially be aware of the hazards of distracted driving; truckers use their smartphones as much as everyone else, but they are also encouraged by the prevailing “productivity culture” to forgo sleep for the sake of meeting deadlines.

There are three types of distractions: visual, manual and cognitive. Texting encompasses all three by taking the eyes, hands and mind off the road. Sending a text can take a driver’s attention off the road for as long as five seconds, which means that one going 55 mph would travel the length of a football field before looking back up. Inattention leads to truckers swerving or drifting into other lanes and failing to notice hazards up ahead.

Drowsy driving also counts as distracted driving. Those who sleep 5.5 to 6.4 hours are twice as likely to drive drowsy than if they slept one or two extra hours. Fleet owners should note that even if truckers follow federal guidelines regarding rest breaks, it’s the quality of their sleep that matters. Safety advocates say that the most important step to improving safety for truckers is to create a workplace culture that prioritizes safety.

If fleet owners neglect this and one of their employees gets in an accident, they may face a personal injury claim. A victim will want to hire a lawyer who works in truck accident law because they will need to gather proof against the trucker, show that their reported injuries are all accident related and ensure that any settlement offers, if made, are reasonable. A lawyer could hire third-party experts for the first two steps and take on negotiations with insurance agencies.