To say that many people are addicted to their cell phones is not hyperbole. On average, people look at their phones anywhere from 50 to 70 times every day.
The co-founder of Motion Intelligence, which created a distracted driving detection app used by some truck fleet managers, explains it this way: “We have been trained by our mobile devices to reach for them. Every time we hear a ping, we get a dopamine hit in our brain at that moment. It’s like a Pavlovian response….The hit of dopamine our brain receives clouds our judgment. We forget about everything else around us.”
Of course, when someone is behind the wheel, that’s a serious problem. A hand-held device not only takes people’s hands off the wheel, but their eyes off the road and their mind off what they’re doing. Even using hands-free and in-dash phones can do the last two of those.
Policies, apps and cameras
Fleet owners and managers have strong incentives to reduce or eliminate the use of hand-held devices by their truck drivers. Some choose to prohibit their drivers from using their phones at all while driving.
Having a clear written policy is a start. Some companies provide apps for drivers’ phones that prevent them from doing anything on their phones besides calling 911 while they’re driving. Some even use cameras that can record what’s happening inside the truck as well as outside.
While these cameras are intended to help prove a trucker’s innocence if someone else causes a crash, they can help victims of crashes caused by trucks prove their case as well. Of course, it’s easier than ever for police and other investigators to determine from a driver’s phone what, if anything, they were doing in the moments leading up to a crash.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a reckless or negligent truck driver or a malfunctioning truck, you could be looking at extensive medical bills and a long recovery time. It’s crucial that you have legal guidance to help ensure that the crash is fully investigated and that all evidence is found and scrutinized thoroughly so that you can get the maximum possible compensation.