As professional drivers, we should be leading the way in safety and setting the example as drivers who are not distracted by all the mobile electronic gadgets that are available to us.  For the most part we are, but I'm starting to see truckers typing on their phones, unnecessary swerving (distracted), still not using a hands free device and holding the phone to their ear, etc..

As professional drivers, we are more tempted than regular motorists to be distracted because of all the guages and gadgets we're monitoring.  We have a cock pit of guages and electronics that we have to monitor during our operation as well as all kinds of after market devices competing for dash space: GPS's (some people have more than 1!), chargers, tire pressure monitoring, smart phones, CB radio, XM/FM radio and various cameras. Even driving with pets is considered distracting. Additionally, we are in the truck for long periods of time and it's not easy to pull over for a quick minute; we are more likely to become distracted than other motorists.

Driving home from Louisville yesterday, I encountered several distracted drivers who were crossing the center line as I was passing them.  I had to hit my horn on three different occasions to alert them.  Two were four wheelers and one was a truck.

I predict that this epidemic will get worse. U.S. highway deaths have been on the decline since hitting a peak of over 51,000 in 1980.  Every year since (for the most part) highway deaths have been on the decline. There were a couple of years where they spiked a little. In 2013, there were 32,719 highway deaths in the U.S.

Our government will continue to run ad campaigns demonstrating the dangers of distracted driving.  It will take years for this to sink in and measurable improvements to start.  So in the meantime, what can we do?  Firstly, don't become a part of the problem by driving distracted and secondly, we will have to drive even more defensively than ever before.

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Joey Slaughter

Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. Joey has been in the trucking industry since 1992.

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Wow Craig. I guess it's the sign of the times. Technology has a dark side as well. We must keep a balance and not become distracted. Thanks for sharing.

April 03, 2015 7:17:35 AM

I also believe this problem will get worse. Just yesterday on my way home I encountered a young person standing part way in the traffic lane of a residential street looking at his phone and his fingers were sure busy. I realize he wasn't in a vehicle and driving but he was oblivious to everything around him. I hate to think of him driving. I slowed down and then ended up going into the oncoming lane that was empty to get around him. I hope the problem doesn't get worse with the trucking industry, it's not the publicity we are looking for.

March 31, 2015 8:10:55 AM