Posted On: July 28, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Truckers Who Text While Driving Increase Truck Accident Risk by 23 Times

According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, truck drivers who text message while driving increase their collision risk by 23 times. The institute’s findings are based on two studies involving seven large trucking fleets and 200 truck drivers who drove 55 long-haul trucks. One study took place in 2004. The second study occurred in 2007.

There were 197 near truck collisions (crashes that the truck driver managed to just narrowly avoid) and 21 truck crashes caused by a number of factors, including texting. Some 3,000 other near truck crashes that weren’t as difficult for truckers to avoid also occurred, as did approximately 1,200 unintended lane deviations.

Researchers compared what happened in dangerous situations to some 20,000 segments of videotape that were shot by each truck using five small cameras. The cameras confirmed that in 31 near crashes, the trucker was texting. There were also random incidents of videotape that showed truckers were texting but that software did not see these situations as dangerous.

Meantime, reaching for or using an electronic device or dialing a cell phone increased the chances of a driver becoming involved in a motor vehicle crash by six times. Findings indicate that just before a near crash or a traffic collision, passenger vehicle drivers and truckers had spent almost five seconds looking at their devices. If a motor vehicle is moving at 55 mph, this is enough time for a car or truck to travel the length of a football field.

The institute says that listening or talking to a cell phone lets drivers keep their eyes on the road, which means that using a cell phone for conversations doesn’t pose as much of a safety risk as texting does. The institute is recommending that all drivers be prohibited from texting while operating a truck, car, or bus, and all teen drivers who just have gotten their licenses should be banned from using cell phones while driving. It also notes that it is clear that keeping one’s eyes on the road improves safety on the road.

According to the study, using a headset when using a cell phone isn’t necessarily safer than using a hand-held phone because the driver will still likely have to answer the phone and dial, which can require the motorist to take both eyes off the road. Voice activated systems might be less dangerous if they are designed in such a way that a motorist won’t have to take his or eyes off the road to operate them.

Our Chicago truck accident law firm wants to know if you were injured in an Illinois motor vehicle crash because the truck driver was texting, talking on the cell phone, or involved in another form of distracted driving.

In Study, Texting Lifts Crash Risk by Large Margin, NY Times, July 27, 2009

Va. Tech Institute: Texting while driving much more dangerous than talking on cell phones, Chicago Tribune, July 28, 2009

Related Web Resource:

Read more about the findings (PDF)

Contact the Law Offices of Steven J. Malman & Associates, PC today.

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