There are drivers that forget about road safety, many of them drive with their cell phones in hand. Unfortunately, the new generation of truckers is the one that tends to have this type of behavior.
Being distracted while driving is a problem that is increasing in the trucking sector since the access to distracting objects during drivers journey in the road improves together with technology advances and adds new possibilities of distractions to the most common ones such, such as texting, eating, reaching for an object, smoking while driving or what is fashionable now, filming themselves while driving.
The new generation of truckers grew up with technological gadgets. Some drivers are not able to live without their favorite gadget, for example, it would be unthinkable for some to spend hours away from their smartphone. And those habits enhance the risk of having an accident.
When that need becomes a distraction, since the truckers hands or eyes stop complying with driving, we have a safety problem that puts the life of the trucker and other drivers and passengers on the road at risk.
A study performed by Division of Freight, Transit and Heavy Vehicle Safety of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute that was led by Susan Soccolich, Senior Research Associate, analyzed drivers driving habits of seven different fleets during 24 months through five video cameras installed on the trucks. They also equipped the trucks with sensors which were activated during security incidents.
The research detected that the most common distractions while driving that could cause an accident were:
• Reaching for an object
• Adjusting/monitoring devices integral to the vehicle
• Removing/adjusting clothes
• Adjusting or using an electronic device other than an electronic dispatching device
• Reaching for food- or drink-related object
• Adjusting or using an electronic dispatching device
• External distraction
• Tobacco use
Trucking fleets should provide safety trainings to their new drivers, especially the new generation of truckers, in relation to unsafe behaviors while driving. For more information about Virginia Tech Transportation Institute research please visit: https://www.vtti.vt.edu/research/index.html