No Room for Distraction: Cell Phone Usage and Crane Operations
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents and injuries in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that on a daily basis, at least 1,161 people are injured in vehicle crashes that involve a distracted driver. But the safety risks of distracted driving are not limited to personal and commercial motor vehicle drivers. This is also the case for crane operators, who are manning industrial equipment. Hazards of Texting while Driving Anything that takes the driver’s visual, manual, and cognitive attention away from driving is a form of distraction. According to a research commissioned by the Federal Motor Safety Administration (FMSA), when you send a text, your eyes are off the road for an average of 5 seconds. Although that may not seem like much, at 55mph it is equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field! Text messaging while driving a commercial vehicle increases the chances of being involved in a critical safety incident by 23 times. Laws and Policies on Distracted Driving These alarming statistics have pushed at least 46 states to ban all drivers from texting while driving. Aside from state laws on distracted driving, various regulatory authorities have also imposed no-texting policies for industry-specific drivers:
- In November 2011, FMSA prohibited all commercial drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.
- The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) rolled out a similar policy for drivers of vehicles that contained hazardous materials back in February 2011.
- After a deadly crash in September 2008, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) barred all rail employees from using electronic devices while performing work.