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What fleet owners should know about distracted driving

In a AAA survey, 88 percent of respondents said that they believe distracted driving is on the rise whereas a smaller percentage said the same for aggressive, drugged and drunk driving. Truck fleet owners in Illinois should know the dangers of distracted driving so that they can come up with effective ways to prevent accidents among their drivers.

First of all, there are three types of distraction: visual, manual and cognitive. Texting encompasses all three, taking the eyes, hands and mind off the road, sometimes for as long as five seconds. This can lead to truckers drifting into other lanes or failing to respond to what's ahead of them.

Fatigued driving is also distracted driving. If truckers get from 5.5 to 6.4 hours of sleep in the previous 24 hours, they double their risk for fatigue compared to those who get one or two extra hours of sleep. The quality of sleep matters enormously; truckers can be fatigued even when they take the required number of breaks and sleep the required number of hours.

Fleet owners should first of all help their employees identify risk factors and provide meaningful engagement while solutions are being sought. Rather than simply making new policies, fleet owners need to effect behavioral and organizational shifts that create a more safety-oriented workplace culture.

When accidents occur because of truck driver negligence, the trucking company could face a personal injury claim. Victims can file one once they have reached maximum medical improvement. If the accident leaves them with conditions that require lifelong medical care, they might strive for a settlement that covers the expenses as well as lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses. A lawyer may be able to negotiate for the settlement after investigators and medical experts do their part in strengthening the case.

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