The average adult doesn’t treat the responsibility of driving with the seriousness it deserves. People tend to be dismissive about how easy it is to suffer life-altering injuries even when just making a quick run to the nearest grocery store.
Anyone might cause a crash that leaves you hurt or your vehicle undrivable because they focus too much on a conversation with their passenger or decide to drive despite taking narcotic pain-relieving medication. If the person at fault for the crash is in control of a commercial vehicle instead of a four-wheeled vehicle, the consequences of their mistake will be far more severe.
Two traffic behaviors that many people treat as barely dangerous are exceptionally risky for those in control of commercial vehicles.
Technically, the legality of mobile device use at the wheel use is a state-by-state issue for the average driver. However, the effects of distraction on cognition and driving performance are so significant that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration specifically created a no-text rule that prohibits commercial vehicle drivers from manually using a device for any purpose.
Even dialing the phone is a violation of the statute. When you consider how much longer it takes a commercial vehicle to respond to changes in traffic and come to a complete stop, the idea that distraction is a bigger safety risk among commercial drivers makes sense.
Many people will get behind the wheel when they know they are too tired to be optimally safe. People frequently treat caffeine like a solution for fatigue, when it may only mask the symptoms of exhaustion in may worsen some of them, like difficulty focusing.
Although there are federal rules that limit how long truck drivers can be on the road, some drivers will violate those rules. Others are already exhausted when they show up for a shift because of a hard night at home with a sick kid or a long commute before they start their shift driving. Fatigue can lead to people falling asleep at the wheel and making bad choices that cause preventable crashes.
When a commercial driver lets fatigue or distraction affect how they perform their job, you may be in a position to file an insurance claim or sometimes even a lawsuit if you suffer consequences for that decision in a crash. Understanding risk factors can help drivers spot signs of a dangerous commercial vehicle near them in traffic.