Distractions persist among truckers as hands-free phone use rises

Although hands-free cell phones increase safety for commercial truck drivers in New Jersey, they do not guarantee that drivers remain focused on the road. Lytx, a company that tracks commercial driver behavior with video telematics, has collected evidence that some drivers using hands-free cell phones sometimes engage in other distracting activities.

Hands-free devices reduce distraction compared to holding phones, but conducting a hands-free conversation remains distracting. Talking to someone else divides a driver's attention and naturally subtracts from monitoring traffic. Additionally, Lytx determined that 23% of the distracted drivers that it observed had engaged in multiple risky actions at the same time. They often did other things, like eat or smoke, while also using a hands-free device.

Data collected in 2018 indicated that truckers increased their use of hands-free phones by 27%. At the same time, distracted behaviors occurring in conjunction with hands-free device use rose by 10%. Overall, Lytx detected a greater tendency among truckers engaged in hands-free conversations to follow other vehicles too closely or exceed the speed limit.

Both tailgating and speeding raise the risk of truck accidents. A person struck by a commercial truck could likely suffer serious or even disabling injuries. Accident claims against trucking companies can become complicated because of issues like subcontractors, defective parts or drivers trying to hide distracted behaviors or fatigue. Additionally, trucking companies and their insurers might deploy substantial resources to fight a claim for damages. Legal representation might empower an accident victim during a vulnerable time. An attorney might have the resources to sort through layers of ownership and liability to identify who should pay for an accident.

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