How can truckers combat distractions?

Large truck operators can decrease their distractions by not participating in secondary activities while driving and ignoring billboards.

Big rigs spend a lot of time on New York roads, so it is no surprise when an accident involves a semi. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 4,311 large vehicles, such as semis and buses, were involved in fatal collisions in a single year. In that same time frame, there were 87,000 trucks involved in accidents that ended in injuries and 342,000 that ended with property damage. Truckers across the country should strive to decrease these crashes by removing distractions from the cab.

Stop secondary activities

Distractions play a role in almost 80 percent of accidents. Many of these distractions stem from objects inside the cab of the semi.

For example, food and drink often takes a person's focus from the road. Taking a drink from a water bottle may seem like a simple act, but it could require the driver to remove his or her eyes from the road for a split second. Eating and drinking almost always requires the use of at least one hand, which leaves fewer hands for the steering wheel. Drivers should either eat before they get in the driver's seat or pull over before nibbling on their food.

Most commercial drivers need to communicate with their dispatchers to get directions, keep accurate logs and give updates. However, these dispatching devices could require the operator to read a message from a screen. Some companies combat this potential distraction by locking truckers out of the device when the big rig is in motion.

Finally, drivers need to keep the use of cellphones to a minimum. Even dialing a phone number to make a call can increase a person's risk of crashing by three times. Texting creates an even bigger distraction. If a driver looks down for five seconds, he or she could travel the entire length of a football field when driving at 55 mph.

Keep focus off of outside objects

Not all distractions come from inside of the cab. In fact, it is estimated that 11,000 semi-related crashes are caused by external distractions. Commonly, billboards and other side-of-the-road advertisements catch the eye of big rig operators. However, anyone behind the wheel of a motor vehicle should strive to keep their attention on the road and surrounding traffic. If a person allows his or her eyes to drift to a catchy billboard, he or she may miss the changing patterns of traffic, which can result in a fender bender.

Whether a New York resident is behind the wheel of a semi or car, it is important he or she keep complete focus on the road and the task of driving. If a collision does take place, it can be beneficial to talk with an attorney who is familiar with this type of personal injury case.