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Truck drivers and distracted driving not a good mix

On Wednesday, David Teater of the National Safety Council delivered an important address at the national Fleet Safety Conference in Illinois.  The topic of the address was the use of cell phones while driving. Now most of our readers are aware of the problem of cell phone use among regular motorists, but perhaps not quite as aware of the problem among commercial drivers.

According to Teater, driving and talking a on a handheld phone while drive and texting while driving are widely recognized as forms of distraction. What is more difficult to grasp is the concept of “cognitive distraction.” Cognitive distractions, along with visual and mechanical distractions, form the three primary types of distraction that drivers should keep in mind. 

Visual and mechanical distractions encompass situations where the driver’s eyes are taken off the road and when the driver’s hands are taken off the steering wheel. Cognitive distractions refer to situations where the driver’s mind is not fully engaged in the task of driving. It includes a number of situations in which a driver may have his or her hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, but when his or her mind is not fully concentrated on driving.

Cognitive distraction is one of the factors that make talking on a cell phone while driving so dangerous. Studies have shown that drivers tend to develop tunnel vision and stop scanning the road to identify potential hazards when they use cell phones, even hand held ones.

Truck drivers are not necessarily any more prone to distracted driving than other motorists, but the consequences for doing so are potentially much more disastrous when an accident occurs. 

Source: Truckinginfo.com, “‘Cognitive Distraction’ Means Hands-Free Cell Phones Aren’t Any Safer,”

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