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How to educate new truck drivers about the risks of distracted driving

When something is this critical to the safety of your truck drivers and the health of your trucking business, it’s important not to leave definitions to chance. Distracted driving is more than texting. Make sure to talk to your new drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

Educate New Truck Drivers About Distracted Driving

Define distracted driving. 

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) defines it as any activity that is competing for the attention of the driver while driving.

It may be:

  • Reaching
  • Holding
  • Dialing
  • Texting
  • Reading
  • Placing too much attention on a passenger’s activities
  • And more

Each of these activities adds critical seconds to the driver’s response time. And in driving, every second matters.

Define distracted driving and discuss it with your new drivers, even the ones who’ve been on the road for years.

Make Data Meaningful.

The data is out there. But sometimes it’s hard to picture what stats mean in the real world. That makes a new driver think it won’t happen to them. Make it more real by discussing distracted driving in terms that make more sense.

A passenger vehicle going 65 miles per hour in perfect weather can stop in about 300 feet once the brake is applied. An 80 thousand pound truck will take over 500 feet to stop in the same conditions.

But what is “500 feet”?

Here are some real-world examples:

They could drive across 2 football fields before they could stop. You might even draw a diagram of two football fields end to end to hit that point home.

The average alert truck driver can remove a foot from the accelerator and apply the air brakes within 3/4 of a second. That’s fast. But within that time the truck has already moved forward an extra 60 feet. That’s roughly the length of a large trailer.

The average text takes about 1-2 seconds to read. In that time the truck moved forward an extra 120 feet or two trailer lengths that it didn’t have to.

A distracted truck driver basically has no chance at all to prevent a collision.

Make the Penalties Clear.

The penalties for distracted driving are steep. It’s not worth the risk. A driver may be responsible for the following.

  • A $2,750 fine paid by the driver
  • A 120-day suspension for repeat offenders
  • An employer fine of up to $11,000. The fine is higher is they can show that you knew the person had a record of being distracted

On top of this, a distracted driver is likely to find themselves unemployed as you and future employers don’t want to risk your own SMS (Safety Measurement System) ratings and companies on a distracted driver.

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Don’t just leave distracted driving to pamphlets and posters. Talk to your new truck drivers. Be clear about what you expect and the risks involved. Safe drivers stay focused on driving. And safe fleet managers and owners don’t leave something this important to chance. They speak with their truck drivers. They make sure they’re covered in case of an accident.

If you’re looking for truck insurance, we can help. Our truck insurance experts make insurance easy while helping trucking businesses get great coverage at great rates. Getting started with your quotes is easy – you can fill out our online form or call us today.


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