Getting into an accident is dangerous for any driver, but truck drivers have even more complex circumstances to consider. First, there is the presence of the very large, very cumbersome vehicle they are driving, which could close down an entire road—in both directions—during an accident. The truck could also damage more property and vehicles than another type of automobile, simply because of its massive size. 

Commercial truck drivers also must remember the special liability issues that will affect his or her employer if they get into an accident. Not only would their employer be responsible for liabilities that result from the accident, but their employer’s property is at risk of being damaged as are the contents of the truck, which belong to clients of the company who could be out tens of thousands or even millions of dollars if the cargo is damaged in an accident or doesn’t get delivered on time.

This doesn’t even begin to consider those trucks that contain hazardous materials. Hazardous material, when unleashed onto a roadway after an accident, can put the lives and health of animals, nature and humans for miles around at risk and require expensive cleanup methods. And the risk doesn’t just end after the accident is cleared from the road if the hazardous materials get into the water supply.

While some accidents are unavoidable and may occur no matter how careful a truck driver is being, one of the most common causes of accidents is distracted drivers. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that, in 2009, 16 percent of all accident related fatalities were the result of a distracted driver. And before you dismiss that number as small, you should note that in the same year, a half million people were injured in accidents that involved a distracted driver. As a result of this proliferation of accidents resulting from distracted drivers, new anti-distracted driving regulations were announced in September 2010. These regulations are imposed against all drivers who are transporting hazardous materials, drive a commercial truck, or operate buses and rail vehicles.

In addition, many companies that employ drivers are creating special internal policies to discourage employees from driving while distracted. These rules and regulations will include banning drivers from driving while texting and restricting them from using electronic devices—like cell phones—while driving.

The overarching goal is to reduce distraction-related accidents and fatalities as anti-drinking laws and regulations have reduced fatalities resulting from alcohol use. Hopefully, if the new anti-distracted driving laws and internal employer policies are followed, it will.
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