Motor carrier advisory committee reviews distracted driving issues

June 17, 2010

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has tasked the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee with investigating ways to prevent distracted driving among commercial motor vehicle operators.

FMCSA officials are hoping for information, concepts and ideas to prevent distracted driving, particularly from in-cab technologies and activities. The task is said to be separate from a current rule that prohibits texting and a forthcoming rule concerning cell phone use.

A study (.pdf file) released in September 2009 by the Blacksburg, VA-based Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed driver distraction was a potential contributing factor in about 82 percent of crashes.

Findings from the study, which collected naturalistic driver data from 103 CMV drivers between May 2004 and September 2005, also showed:

  • Drivers were engaged in non-driving-related tasks in 71 percent of crashes, 46 percent of near crashes and 60 percent of all safety-critical events.
  • There were 4,452 safety critical events, 21 crashes, 197 near crashes, 3,019 crash-relevant conflicts and 1,215 unintentional lane deviations.
  • Drivers were 23.2 times as likely to be involved in a safety-critical event if they were texting while driving.