Distracted Driving Strikes Again...by Jana Ritter - Published: 4/02/2013
Just as the FMCSA announces is national pilot program targeting distracted truck and bus drivers, two major incidents have occurred and caused by that very thing.
On Monday in Oregon, two commercial truck drivers were cited by Oregon State Police after being involved in traffic crash along Interstate 84. According to State Police Lt. Greg Sherman, a 2000 Peterbilt truck pulling a trailer loaded with apples was westbound traveling about 5 mph trying to get to a local tire repair facility because of two flat trailer tires. A second commercial truck, a 2007 Peterbilt tanker truck with tanker trailer was also westbound, approaching from behind and the driver failed to notice the slow truck and trailer ahead. Why? Because he was distracted, looking at his cell phone and crashed into the back of the trailer.
While all parties involved were treated for minor injuries, the contents of the trailer spilled out onto the interstate and the highway was restricted to one lane for the remainder of the day. The OSP charged the first driver for operating an unsafe vehicle and the second driver for following too close
Another truck driver has been charged with careless driving after an accident that shut down one lane of the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown near downtown Tampa, Florida. The Florida Highway Patrol said the truck, which was carrying bags of concrete mix, was traveling west toward Tampa, when the driver lost control of the truck, hit a guardrail and traveled about 600 feet along the barrier. The truck stopped after hitting three light poles and debris scattered along the road. A front wheel was hanging over the barrier, while the remaining wheels on the right side of the truck were resting on top of the concrete wall. The accident near the downtown Tampa exit backed up traffic for miles, the Florida Department of Transportation said.
Although using a cell phone is the most common form of distracted driving and the only one that merits a ticket under many state's law, drivers who eat, change clothes, or put on makeup are just as likely to break other traffic laws, such as by speeding, following other cars too closely and drifting out of lanes.
Today, California law enforcement agencies throughout the state today are kicking off a month-long crackdown on drivers who text or talk on the phone while behind the wheel. Throughout April, (Distracted Driving Awareness Month), the CHP is putting more officers on state roadways, and local police will be scouring city streets for drivers using hand-held cell phones, CHP spokesman Officer Elon Steers said today.
Distracted driving contributes to thousands of accidents a year and can slow a driver's reaction time as much as driving drunk, Steers said. "Recent statistics show that an overwhelming majority of accidents are in some way due to distracted driving," he added.