After a ban on texting while driving for drivers of commercial trucks, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering bans on other kinds of distractions in truck cabs.
Earlier this week, the FMCSA’s Chief Safety Officer told a conference of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, that the FMCSA was considering banning the use of devices like CB radios and electronic dispatch systems because of the distractions these pose to drivers. According to Rose McMurray, the FMCSA is determining what kind of devices need to be banned.
The agency will have to take into consideration the fact that these electronic devices facilitate smooth and efficient communication between the truck drivers and companies. Obviously, the agency will have to tread on eggshells here. Truck cabs are becoming loaded with more and more sophisticated devices. The trucking industry has, over the past few years, moved increasingly towards computerized systems that are mounted on the dashboards of truck cabs. These systems consist of a screen that is typically mounted near the steering wheel, and a small keyboard that is installed on the dashboard . Truck drivers use these systems to keep in touch with the office, receive orders, and receive directions to delivery destinations. Trucking companies transmit companywide messages through these systems as well as new dispatch orders.
In fact, truck drivers have begun to use these systems more and more for efficient processes and are increasingly become dependent on these. Trucking companies don’t recommend that drivers use these computers while the truck is in motion, but that recommendation is often ignored. It’s not always possible for a truck driver to pull the vehicle over in order to browse the Internet, or check messages on the computer. The potential for misuse of these devices is huge, and the risks of distracted driving for the trucker are enormous.
As Houston truck accident attorneys, we have called for a ban of such computer devices in truck cabs, but the trucking industry has not taken kindly to these suggestions. We’ll wait and see if the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can crack down on the use of these devices.