Driving an 18-wheeler can be a lonely job. Many truck drivers spend several hours a day by themselves in the cabs of their trucks. In previous decades, their only method of contact was through CB radios. They could go days without hearing from their families who could live several states away.
As technologies improved, truck drivers could remain better connected to the people they love. Cell phones dramatically changed the way that they communicate with their families and friends at home. It may still be a lonely job, but at least they can maintain a connection. The problem is that many drivers tend to do so while they drive.
Texting and driving don't mix
In recent years, it has become painfully obvious that texting and driving exponentially increase the potential for an accident. Trucking companies who recognize this danger changed their policies in order to make texting and driving costly for drivers who do it in order to deter it, and it appears to work. Companies that use a combination of punishment and education tend to double their safety ratings over companies that don't do the same.
Some would advocate education over punishment, but that may not curb the number of fatalities and injuries that occur daily on the country's roadways. Estimates indicate that around 1,000 people suffer injuries and nine people die every day due to distracted drivers. It may only take a few seconds to read or send a text, but in that time, a vehicle can cover an alarming distance without a driver paying attention to the road or the traffic.
Driving a vehicle that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds means that it doesn't stop quickly, and maneuvering it in time to avoid a catastrophe may not be possible. For this reason, we hold truck drivers to a higher standard when it comes to driving ability and maintaining attention, diligence and vigilance while driving. Punishing them in some way for texting and driving probably saves lives and makes the roads safer.
Until everyone stops texting and driving
While lawmakers, cell phone companies and trucking companies figure out the best way to stop truck drivers from texting and driving, people continue to suffer serious injuries and die. If you wind up in an accident with a truck driver distracted by his or her phone, you pay the higher price. You may never fully recover from your injuries, which would change your life forever, and so would losing a loved one in such a crash as well.