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Truck Accident Study Highlights Most Common Causes of Distracted Driving Crashes

Texas 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer | Truck 18-Wheeler Accidents from Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is among the leading causes of truck and 18-wheeler accidents.

Now a new study highlights exactly what truckers are looking at when they take their focus off the road and the consequences of their behavior.

Distracted Driving, Other Risky Behaviors Spiked During Pandemic Shutdowns

According to research conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, distracted driving may contribute to as many as 70% of commercial vehicle accidents reported in the United States each year, including those involving 18-wheelers and other large trucks.

The drivers of both passenger and commercial vehicles were even more likely to engage in distracted driving and other risky behaviors during last year’s coronavirus shutdowns, as lighter than usual traffic gave many a false sense of security behind the wheel.

This latest study from Omnitracs analyzed data on more than 29 billion driving miles events and accompanying telematics data across truckers to develop a comprehensive picture of distractions and their impact on driving behavior. The data was extracted from Omnitracs’ SmartDrive database and covered 2019 and 2020, a year when traffic accidents spiked even as COVID-19 caused the total number of vehicles on the road to fall drastically.

“Preliminary National Safety Council (NSC) data indicates that 42,060 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020,” said Jason Palmer, general manager of transportation intelligence at Omnitracs. “That’s an 8% rise from 2019, and 2020 was a year where people drove significantly less frequently because of the pandemic. In addition, the rate of death on the roads spiked 24% over the previous 24-month period, despite miles driven dropping 13%.”

Distracted Driving Remains Epidemic Among Truckers

Truck-involved crashes resulted in an estimated 4,895 fatalities in 2020, down from 5,005 fatalities in 2019. But distracted driving among truckers remained an epidemic.

According to the study’s findings, truckers who were involved in a collision were 90.3% more likely to have been talking on a mobile phone, 60.7% more likely to have been texting, and 42.8% more likely to have been engaged in grooming activities than drivers that didn’t crash.

Handheld mobile devices used for phone calls represented a nearly 73% stronger correlation with accidents than voice-assisted or speakerphone systems.

A quarter of the most distracted truckers were 72% more likely to be involved in a near-collision than other drivers, while those distracted by mobile phones were three times more likely to drive more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit and more likely not to wear a seatbelt.

Distracted truck drivers were also more likely to run traffic lights and stop signs and drift out of their lane than the “least distracted” drivers.

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