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Study of Truckers Quantifies Risks Created by Distracted Drivers

Distracted Drivers

Professional truck drivers spend more time on the roads than just about anyone else who climbs behind the wheel of any vehicle.  As such, one would expect that truckers would drive at a very high level as compared to others.  While that may be the case, distracted drivers are distracted drivers, and any quantification regarding the dangers that distracted drivers present can be helpful.  Given their professional status, there are also more opportunities to study the habits of truck drivers as opposed to people who drive private vehicles.  One company has done just that, and the results of their analysis should prompt anyone who drives to closely look at his or her own driving habits.  In furtherance of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the San Diego personal injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys would like to share the results of this study.

About the Distracted Truck Drivers Study

SmartDrive completed the study of truck drivers in the United Kingdom.  SmartDrive is a company that provides video systems to the transportation industry.  The purpose of these systems is to track the behavior of truck drivers, bus drivers and even those who work on rail systems.  The researchers collected data on the truck drivers for a period of one year, from February of 2016 through January of 2017.  All told, the data included recordings of more than 180 million driving events and 14.5 billion driving miles.

The first way in which the researchers examined the data involved reviewing the actions of truck drivers who were involved in collisions.  Specifically, the researchers compared their behavior behind the wheel in the weeks leading up to those collisions to those who had not been in crashes.  Below you’ll find the percentage by which the truck drivers who were involved in collisions were more distracted by certain things than those who were not, based on every 1,000 hours of driving:

  • Consuming beverages – 43.5 percent more distracted than non-collision drivers
  • Consuming food – 63.3 percent more distracted than non-collision drivers
  • Personal hygiene/grooming – 37.1 percent more distracted than non-collision drivers
  • Talking on a handheld phone – 93.1 percent more distracted than non-collision drivers
  • Talking on a hands-free phone – 39.9 percent more distracted than non-collision drivers
  • Texting/dialing on a phone – 84.7 percent more distracted than non-collision drivers
  • Operating a different mobile device – 43.3 percent more distracted than non-collision drivers
  • Other tasks – 82.7 percent more distracted than non-collision drivers
  • Paperwork – 69.3 percent more distracted than non-collision drivers
  • Smoking – 26.9 percent more distracted than non-collision drivers
  • Yawning – 69.9 percent more distracted than non-collision drivers

Clearly, drivers who were ultimately involved in trucking accidents had been more distracted by the items listed above than those who were not involved in crashes.

Distracted Drivers – Specific Data Points

The data above only reinforce the notion that distracted drivers – even professionals – are dangerous drivers.  The second analysis within the study broke down specific mistakes that are common behind the wheel.  The difference between all drivers and the most distracted drivers became even more pronounced.  Below you’ll find examples of dangerous occurrences and the percentage increase in risk faced by the drivers:

Near Collisions

  • All distractions – 35.6 percent more likely to be involved in a near collision
  • Mobile phone – 87.5 percent more likely to be involved in a near collision
  • Non-mobile phone – 30.1 percent more likely to be involved in a near collision

Therefore, the drivers most distracted by mobile phones in this survey – meaning the 25 percent of drivers who were distracted by mobile phones the most per 1,000 hours of driving – were 87.5 percent more likely to be involved in a near collision because they were using a mobile phone.

Speeding

  • All distractions – 86.8 percent more likely to speed
  • Mobile phone – 187.6 percent more likely to speed
  • Non-mobile phone – 70.7 percent more likely to speed

The statistics above reveal that drivers more distracted by mobile phones were 188 percent more likely speed, which was defined as at least 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.

Intersections – Passing Through a Red Light or Stop Sign

  • All distractions – 83.4 percent
  • Mobile phone – 153.9 percent
  • Non-mobile phone – 77.2 percent

Distracted drivers who spent the most time on their mobile phones were 153.9 percent more likely to pass through a red light or stop sign at an intersection than other drivers.

Lane Control

  • All distractions – 91.4 percent
  • Mobile only 131.3 percent
  • Non-mobile phone – 72.9 percent

The most distracted drivers in the survey were 91.4 percent more likely to drift out of their lanes than the other drivers.

No Seatbelt

  • All distractions – 310.6 percent
  • Mobile only – 392 percent
  • Non-mobile phone – 266.5 percent

Distracted drivers were 311 percent more likely to fail to wear their seatbelts when compared to other drivers.

What the Study Means

Those who would like to review the entire study can do so here.  The numbers presented in this study are daunting to say the least.  If even professional drivers are that much more likely to (a) be involved in a collision and (b) engage in activities that increase the risk of a collision because they are distracted, it should hit home for non-professional drivers.  Bad habits are easy to pick up in almost any walk of life.  As such, distracted drivers have many times simply picked up bad habits.  If it can happen to professionals and they can unknowingly increase their risk of crashes, it can happen to anyone else.  The study should prompt anyone who sees the numbers to do what they can to make sure that they do not drive distracted.

How San Diego Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help

Hopefully everyone will take at least one step to improve their focus while driving during Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  Unfortunately, distracted drivers will still be on the road and they will continue to cause car accidents.  People who are wrongfully harmed by distracted drivers need to take immediate steps to make sure that they protect their legal rights.  If this has happened to you or someone you love, seek the help of San Diego personal injury lawyers who have been fighting for the rights of clients successfully for more than a decade.  Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today for a free case evaluation.

Posted in: Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury
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