3 min read
May 23, 2023 9:00:00 AM
At Averitt, we have a longstanding reputation for safety. From our modern equipment decked out with the latest safety technology to company-wide safety initiatives, our drivers are committed to safe driving, and one of the biggest risks to this is encountering distracted drivers on the road. Here’s the need-to-know info on distracted driving and the top tips for avoiding it.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is such a widespread issue on U.S. roads that the entire month of April is dedicated to raising awareness of this unsafe driving practice! The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHSTA) released data that showed over 3,000 people were killed due to distracted driving in 2021. The risks of this unsafe driving practice are endless, ranging from damaged vehicles to severe injury and death in more severe collisions. Unfortunately, distracted driving has become quite common and is not seen as dangerous as other unsafe driving practices, like driving while under the influence. A study by NHSTA shows that distracted driving is five to six times more dangerous than drunk driving and increases your risk of collision by that same amount!
All these habits fall under the category of distracted driving:
- Texting/checking phone notifications
- Rerouting GPS
- Adjusting radio
- Eating full meals
- Participating in any activity other than driving
How do I spot a distracted driver?
Since CDL-A drivers rack up a decent number of miles on the highway and other roads, they are unfortunately regularly exposed to distracted drivers. We know this can be stressful to hear, especially when paired with the reality that you’re in control of an 18-wheeler, but it’s easy to learn the habits of distracted drivers and be better equipped to avoid them.
Simply by learning the habits of distracted drivers, you are less likely to be negatively impacted by them. One of the easiest ways to spot distracted drivers is through their driving patterns. If a vehicle is consistently swerving, abruptly jerking in and out of lanes of traffic, isn’t maintaining a steady speed, or is otherwise ignoring other traffic rules, they may be distracted and by default, a risk to your safety. Drivers also frequently become distracted when passing by the scene of accidents, so it’s best to up your cautiousness and awareness in these situations.
How can I avoid being a distracted driver myself?
In 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officially restricted the use of all hand-held devices while driving. In accordance with this and to protect our associates from the dangers of distracted driving, we have a company-wide policy that mirrors this federal rule:
“Unless prohibited by state or local law, associates must use a "hands-free" device located in proximity when using a cell phone while operating a vehicle. Under DOT rules, CMV drivers are not allowed to hold, dial, or reach for a handheld phone, including those with push-to-talk capability. Hands-free phone use is allowed, as is the use of CB radios, two-way radios, and global positioning system (GPS) devices.
Specifically, the rules prohibit drivers from:
- Using at least one hand to hold a mobile phone to conduct a voice communication
- Dialing or answering a mobile phone by pressing more than a single button
- Reaching for a mobile phone in a manner that requires the driver to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated, belted, driving position
Drivers may not use hand-held phones while temporarily stopped due to traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays, but they will be able to use them after moving the vehicle off the highway and stopping in a safe location.”
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