Combating communication and distraction: Panel talks phones’ role in distracting truck drivers

Img 1717 Headshot
Updated Sep 29, 2014

social-phone-appsIn many cases, technology has made trucking easier, but in others it has made it more distracting, said a panel discussion at the American Trucking Associations’ annual Technology & Maintenance Council‘s fall meeting this week.

Mark Warsofsky, M&M Transport Services; Robert Sellers, Reliable Carriers; John Erwin, Saddle Creek Transportation; and Claude Masters, Florida Power & Light, each detailed how they combat distracted drivers and technicians.

“Cell phones in the shop are a safety issue,” Sellers says. “We don’t allow it.”

State laws most often take care of cell phone use by drivers. Simply put, it’s against the law to use a non hands-free device while the vehicle is in motion.

“I was a little bit ahead of the curve because I mandated it through the company that the drivers had to be hands free,” Warsofsky says of beating federal mandates to the punch. “That first year, I think we lost five drivers (terminated for cell phone use).

“For the most part, we haven’t had too much of an issue.”

Masters says much of his company’s work-related communication is done through a two-way radio, and driver’s shouldn’t be doing those communications while they are on the road.

That communication, too, is evolving. Now, much communication takes place over computer.

Masters also expressed a concern that as driver technologies continue to evolve, more things are put in front of the driver to look at, which could cause trends in accident avoidance to remain flat.

Click here to see all of CCJ’s coverage from TMC.