Truckers spend countless hours on the road and know the dangers of distracted driving. Quite a few have seen the dangers play out by personally witnessing near misses and accidents on the road. Road safety is a top priority for those who essentially live on it, but the National Safety Council (NSC) reports that motor vehicle crashes are still the number one cause of workplace death.
National Safety Month
Due to the gravity of workplace dangers, the NSC dedicates June as National Safety Month. Road safety serves as one of the main topics that the NSC highlights in its monthlong campaign. Road safety is a big topic to tackle and it’s never a bad time to reinforce basic guidelines and encourage organizations to create their own safety programming. For motor carriers and commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, many rules are already in place.
As of 2013, CMV drivers are restricted “from reaching for or holding a mobile phone to conduct a voice communication, as well as dialing by pressing more than a single button” by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) under the U.S. Department of Transportation. The motto for the rule is “no call, no text, no ticket!” and it really is that easy. Unfortunately, distracted driving like texting and driving persists. Luckily, there are solutions.
Don’t Text and Drive
Technology like trucker headsets and smartphones help curb distracted driving. Trucker headsets often have features that keep them compliant and efficient, so truckers can still have essential conversations while on the job. Used properly, voice-command controlled devices comply with the regulations regarding mobile phone usage while driving. If you’re looking for a headset, Jubitz Truck Service Center sells a variety of BlueParrott and other trucker headsets.
Banish Bad Habits
There’s a heavy emphasis on preventing texting while driving, but other common activities can also be problematic. Eating and drinking, not having at least one hand on the wheel, and not observing the proper following distance all pose great risk. For the latter items, building good habits will help keep truckers safe and compliant. As for dining, truckers should try to eat and drink during breaks while parked or outside of their vehicle, but it’s important to acknowledge that this isn’t always possible. Finding snacks and beverages that can be served single-handedly are the key to staying compliant while also taking care of basic needs.
Truckers each have individual health needs, and some may require taking medication. Commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders need to be especially careful about the side effects of the medications they are on. Not only do they drive long hours, but they can receive serious punishments for driving poorly. Be sure to check for any warnings about operating motor vehicles before taking any medication and talk to a doctor to identify alternatives if necessary.
Fatigue is a frequent factor in distracted driving and can be medically induced. Getting enough rest is critical for those who are on the road for long periods of time. Factory-built and DOT compliant sleeper cabins are convenient places to catch up on sleep. Items like blackout curtains, blankets during the winter, and fans during the summer are all good things to have to make sure you’re sleeping efficiently. Occasionally, truckers might even consider stepping out of the cab. The Portlander Inn is a home away from home with comfortable, affordable rooms and CDL discounts available.
National Safety Month is the perfect time to refresh on motor vehicle laws both locally and federally, reset habits that lead to distracted driving, and adopt new tech to ensure compliance. Motor carriers can implement educational training and company policies to ensure safe driving. Truckers can independently take steps to improve their driving too. Resources can be found on the NSC’s website here.