Distracted driving is a rising epidemic in Tennessee that is not exclusive to regular motorists. Not only do truck drivers endanger themselves, they also put pedestrians and motorists at risk for harm. Distractions like talking and texting on cellphones while driving can cause truckers to overlook up to 50 percent of everything that is going on around them, states TransForce. This includes pedestrians, other motorists and traffic signs and lights.

According to TruckerMagazine.com, each year, distracted commercial driving accidents result in hundreds of thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths. To reduce the frequency of those incidents, The Department of Labor and Occupational Safety& Health Administration has introduced some new guidelines and regulations to improve truck driver safety. With the creation of the “Distracted Driving Initiative”, more focus can be given to preventing commercial vehicle operators from engaging in behaviors that distract them from driving.

Commercial motorists may feel the temptation to engage in this risky kind of behavior because they spend long hours on the road and often end up feeling bored. They may feel lonely or are in need of some type of side activities to help keep them awake and somewhat focused on the task. Due to the nature of their jobs and the type of vehicle and cargo they may be hauling, truck drivers cannot afford to be distracted in any kind of way. When they do engage in distracted driving, it usually a combination of the three kinds; visual, cognitive and manual.

Commercial vehicle operators who drive distracted should remember that they are not just putting themselves at risk for accident, injury and death, they are also compromising their livelihood. They are also increasing the chances of their employers being held liable. To help mitigate the risks, employers are encouraged to implement processes and regulations that discourage and ban distracted driving behaviors, such as texting.