Texting Truckers Are 23 Times More Likely to Crash
A study performed by Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute found that texting truckers are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a crash or a near miss, reports The Washington Post.
The study was carried out with a $300,000 grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Researchers placed video cameras in commercial trucks to study driver behavior. The study analyzed over 3 million miles of trucking data from 203 truckers on the road between 2004 to 2007. The study was the largest of its kind in the world.
The video footage shows that texting is an extremely high-risk behavior because it causes truckers to take their eyes off the road. The video analysis showed just how dangerous texting while driving really is.
“In 4.6 out of the six seconds [before the crash or near miss], they weren’t looking at the road. They were looking at the device,” said Rich Hanowski, director of the institute’s Center for Truck and Bus Safety. “Anything over two seconds is dangerous.”
The study uncovered 4,452 “safety-critical events” from the 203 truckers, including 21 wrecks, 197 near crashes, and 4,200 other events such as unintentional lane changes.
In 2007, over 37,000 people were killed in traffic accidents, and 11 percent of those deaths involved large trucks.
Texting while driving has been implicated in a number of large truck wrecks. In April, the driver of a tractor trailer truck admitted that he had been texting before crashing into a school bus in a wreck that killed a student. In another incident, a Boston trolley driver was texting when he crashed into another trolley. As a result, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority now prohibit train and bus drivers from using personal electronic devices while working.
The study also found that:
* Drivers of light vehicles and cars who are dialing a cell phone are 2.8 times more likely to crash.
* Truckers dialing a cell phone are 5.9 times more likely to crash.
* Truckers reaching for a cell phone are 6.7 times more likely to crash.
Drivers who take their eyes off the road are more likely to crash! And when they’re driving a commercial truck, any crash has a high likelihood of causing a fatality.
Based on the study, researchers make the following recommendation: Texting should be banned in moving vehicles for all drivers. As shown in the table, this cell phone task has the potential to create a true crash epidemic if texting-type tasks continue to grow in popularity and the generation of frequent text message senders reach driving age in large numbers.
“The take-away issue here is this is a driver behavior issue,” Hanowski said. “It’s not isolated to truck drivers.”
Next time you get a text message when you’re behind the wheel, just wait until you get where you’re going before you answer. If it’s really that important, pull off the road to reply.
If you’ve been injured by a texting truck driver or distracted driver, call MLN Law to schedule your free consultation. Call 404-531-9700 today.