Combating Driving Distractions with Bluetooth Technology

Driver distraction is one of the top reasons for road accidents. According to the Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (both divisions of the Department of Transportation), “driver distraction” actually has different divisions (visual, manual, auditory, and cognitive) that can be voluntary or involuntary. The diversion can be a person, even, or object that can attract the attention of the driver, shifting his or her focus from the primary focus which is driving. The use of cell phones or mobile phones has qualified for all four divisions of distraction, therefore severely compromising the safety of the truck driver and other motorists and pedestrians.

Because of the danger of cell phone use, many trucking companies have already started using a Bluetooth headset for communication. Furthermore, a federal ban on using hand-held cell phones was already implemented last January, 2012. The law has ruled out the use of hand-held cell phones while to vehicle is moving or while they are stopped for a light or on a stop sign. Emergency calls are allowed.

There are, however, people who argue about the safety of using a Bluetooth headset. Being hands-free can really be a great improvement since it keeps the truck driver’s hands on the wheel, but many disagree. According to earlier studies, driving requires a lot of concentration, and even a small distraction can greatly increase the chances of an 18-wheeler accident to occur. According to www.jeffsampsonlaw.com, a mere three seconds of driver distraction can already prove fatal and lead to serious road accidents.  At 60mph, you’re traveling 88 feet every second. At high speeds, it’s plain to see that a lot can change in three seconds.

The federal law of prohibiting the use of hand-held cell phones definitely has its advantages, and could certainly prevent driver distraction and potential 18-wheeler accidents. It is, nevertheless, important to understand that cell phone use is not the only distraction that a truck driver can have; there are other gadgets that they are using, such as radio units and GPS consoles. Technologies such as these can already be a distraction to many truck drivers, therefore regulations alone may not be enough to prevent 18-wheeler accidents from happening. We just have to trust truckers to behave responsibly, at least while they’re on assignment.


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