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When commercial truckers are distracted

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Every time you get behind the wheel, you run the risk of encountering another motorist whose attention is somewhere else. Nowadays, drivers are inclined to multitask, and it is not at all unusual for them to be eating, engrossed in conversation or otherwise distracted from the immediate task at hand. It can prove even more dangerous when the person doing so is behind the wheel of a semi.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that driver distraction plays a role in more than 70 percent of all commercial truck-involved crashes. Given the size and weight of large trucks, motorists are all too often on the losing end when regular cars and trucks collide, driving home the importance of truckers avoiding engaging in any behaviors that take their attention away from the road ahead of them. Specifically, it is critical that today's commercial drivers:

Put down the phone

Texting while driving a big rig is illegal, regardless of state laws about in-vehicle cellphone use. Texting behind the wheel is among the most dangerous types of distracted driving actions, because it involves all three types of driver distraction: visual, manual and cognitive. Furthermore, a study suggests that the act of texting while driving increases your chances of getting involved in a serious accident by 23 times.

Avoid using dispatch services while operating the truck

The use of dispatching services, which are a regular part of daily life for truckers, can prove just as dangerous and potentially deadly as using a phone. It can be tempting for truck drivers to communicate with dispatch while driving to save time, find their way around an unfamiliar place or log their hours without having to stop, but doing so dramatically enhances the chances of an accident.

Forgo the food and drink

It is no secret that today's truck drivers sometimes face tight timelines, and in many cases, a truck driver's pay is directly commensurate with how many miles he or she is able to cover in a day. This makes it tempting to spend as many hours as possible behind the wheel, even if it means having breakfast, lunch or dinner while navigating the truck at the same time. According to some estimates, eating while driving is even more distracting than using a cellphone behind the wheel.

As a motorist, you can try and avoid traveling too closely to large trucks, but you cannot always avoid them entirely. Stay vigilant when traveling near big rigs, and if you do find yourself injured following a collision with one, consider contacting a lawyer.

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