Most drivers know their weak spots when it comes to being distracted behind the wheel. Whether you have a hard time ignoring your phone when you drive, or you have a bad habit of eating on the go, you know what’s likely to pull your attention away from the road.
But what about truck drivers? For a trucker, the “office” is the inside of a vehicle that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. It’s a home away from home, a workplace, and a bedroom all in one massive truck. For truck drivers, distractions can be catastrophic — and they have a lot more distractions to worry about than the average motorist.
Mobile Phones – Just like regular drivers, truckers can get distracted by a text, email, or phone call. Federal law prohibits truckers from texting and driving, and they’re limited to hands-free devices on the road.
Fatigue – Unfortunately, many truck drivers are pressured to work far more hours than they’re supposed to under federal hours-of-service regulations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drowsy driving caused 72,000 motor vehicle crashes in 2013 alone.
Eating – Many truck drivers don’t have time to stop and eat a meal. Instead, they grab something to go and eat while they drive. However, operating a semi-truck requires a person’s full attention. Reaching for a beverage or balancing a sandwich in your lap while you drive a semi-truck is incredibly dangerous.
Headphones or Music – Many people enjoy listening to music or the radio when they drive. But music that’s too loud — or motorists who drown out traffic sounds by wearing headphones — can be a serious distraction behind the wheel. This is a cognitive distraction, which means that it pulls a trucker’s mind away from the task of driving.
Passengers – Some truckers ride with a spouse. Like any driver, however, they can get distracted by conversation or the actions of a passenger.