Distracted driving has long been a problem in Louisiana, as in every other state, with drivers sometimes eating or drinking behind the wheel, putting on makeup or adjusting the radio or climate controls. With the boom in mobile technology, distractions are becoming more prominent, including among truckers.
According to a 2018 Risk Index report from Travelers, 23% of Americans used personal technology behind the steering wheel even though 8 in 10 admitted that this was unsafe. Among workers, 43% said they use their phones for work purposes when driving. This included calling, texting and sending emails.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says there were 3,450 distracted driving crash fatalities in 2016. This came to 9.2% of all motor vehicle fatalities that year. Collisions with large trucks tend to involve serious, even fatal, injuries, so it’s especially important to prevent truck driver distraction.
Truckers have a number of devices in their cab, such as electronic logging devices and fleet tracking systems, that may pose a distraction. What trucking companies should do is raise awareness of distractions, perhaps at monthly safety meetings, and instill defensive driving techniques like maintaining a safe speed and never tailgating. Senior management should set a good example as well.
Victims of truck collisions, assuming that they themselves were not at fault, may be eligible for compensation under personal injury law. If a person was hurt at the hands of a distracted truck driver, they may want to request a case evaluation from a lawyer. The lawyer may determine what a fair settlement would be and then negotiate for it on their client’s behalf. If the settlement cannot be achieved out of court, the client may have the choice of litigating.