A truck driver in west Texas was hauling drilling equipment to a rig south of Odessa. It was a clear day and he was traveling the speed limit with cruise control engaged. The driver did not remember taking his eyes off the road, though he did admit to answering a text message that arrived on his cell phone. It was a short message—the entire communication couldn’t have taken more than a few seconds. But before he could send his reply, he heard the impact, then felt the shower of shattered glass as the windshield exploded in front of him. The driver had collided with an SUV waiting to make a left turn onto a rural road just off the highway. The truck driver survived. Three individuals in the car were killed instantly. A fourth died at the hospital the next afternoon.
For the driver, the worst part was the knowledge that the message on his phone could have waited until the next stop. He’d responded out of habit and cost four people their lives.
- Provide hands-free devices to be used in vehicles when a cell phone is necessary.
- Prohibit texting by your drivers as a matter of company policy.
- Turn off your cell phone or use a hands-free device while driving.
- Never text or look at a video screen until the vehicle is stopped in a safe location.
- As a gift, give the driver a hands-free device for their cell phone.
- Avoid calling or texting during periods when the driver is likely to be on the road.