Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    ‘Misleading’ Distracted Driving Study – DOT Not Happy

    September 29, 2010 by Truckdrivernews · Leave a Comment 

    When the DOT suggested banning the use of hand held devices for sending and receiving of text messages and or email by commercial truck and bus drivers – they did so without a good study in my opinion. They caught a bunch of flack from everyone for doing so in such a way for not allowing any discussion before going through with the ban.

    The most recent study the DOT had to go on was conducted by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). They concluded that a truck driver was 23 times more likely to cause an accident while driving a tractor trailer and texting. But the study was ONLY done on 203 CMV drivers and 55 trucks from 7 trucking fleets. Out of 3.5 million truck drivers on the road today. And they also included in their findings “near misses” as accidents in fact it was 46 percent near misses. Out of a total of 4,452 crashes, near misses, crash relevant conflict, and unintentional lane deviations. Near misses according to dictionary.com: an instance of two vehicles, aircraft, etc., narrowly avoiding a collision.

    Other studies on truck crashes show that they are the lowest numbers since the records were started to have been kept. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has responded to a “misleading” report released by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), which questions the effectiveness of anti-texting while driving laws with respect to improving traffic safety.

    “Lives are at stake, and all the “reputable research” we have says that tough laws, good enforcement and increased public awareness will help put a stop to the deadly epidemic of distracted driving on our roads” said Lahood. In a perfect world this might be the case. But we are in a not-so-perfect world where “feel good” legislation’s get passed every day, but nothing still is done about enforcement. The DOT can put the “toughest laws” in place – but with the lack of enforcement on such laws it helps no one.

    Funny how the DOT gets upset when a reputable report comes out against their good intentions. LaHood states that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and its affiliate, HLDI have been working to discredit national anti-distracted driving efforts over the last year.

    Noncompliance and lack of enforcement are the likely reasons texting bans aren’t reducing crashes. In my opinion, the DOT should focus on other things that MORE IMPORTANT such as more and safer parking for TIRED truck drivers. I think I would rather have a professional driver texting beside me on the highway rather than a tired truck driver falling asleep at the wheel because of the lack of adequate parking.

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