New technologies and campaigns are helping fight distracted driving fatalities.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 26,000 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers from 2012 to 2019. (Credit:
Using your phone while driving is dangerous and distracting for anyone, but the stakes are much higher when the driver is operating a tractor-trailer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules that restrict the use of hand-held cellphone usage by commercial truck drivers, and violations are punishable by a fine of up to $2,750 for drivers and $11,000 for employers, but the risks go beyond the financial.
According to the FMCSA, the odds of being involved in a crash are six-times higher for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) who dial mobile phones while driving. These drivers, they report, take their eyes away from the roadway for an average of 3.8 seconds while dialing, which, at 55 mph, means the driver is operating their truck blindly for about the length of a football field.
In response to this risky behavior, some insurance carriers have stepped up to combat distracted driving, including Nationwide, who recently teamed up with distracted driving management platform NoCell to give fleet managers the tools to combat this problem with their drivers.
Nationwide’s commercial fleet customers will have access to NoCell’s technology, which will allow them to remove distractions by disabling disruptive apps and cell phone functions while drivers are on the road.
“Trucking businesses have more advanced technology and safety cultures than ever before to reduce risks for drivers and the motorists around them, but it continues to be a challenge for risk managers to enforce mobile phone policies,” Gary Flaherty, senior vice president of E&S commercial auto at Nationwide, said in a release. “We’re thrilled about this new partnership with NoCell to help hone in on those dangerous distraction risks as we deliver extraordinary risk mitigation for our customers complemented by deep industry expertise to protect them mile after mile.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 26,000 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers from 2012 to 2019. In an attempt to help curb these fatalities, the NHTSA has also launched a campaign called “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.,” which centers on aiding law enforcement officers in their efforts to stop distracted drivers.
The campaign, which will take place April 4-11, 2022, serves to remind drivers of the deadly consequences of distracted driving by utilizing increased police enforcement of texting laws and spreading distracted driving information via social media.
You can learn more about the NHTSA’s U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign at nhtsa.gov.