Stopping at a gas station is not like it used to be. Twenty or thirty years ago, truck stops offered snacks, drinks, and gas, with perhaps a restaurant and a place to shower. Reasonably nice bathrooms were almost a luxury, and places to buy music tapes or other comforts of the road were worth going a few miles out of the way for.
All that has changed in the last fifteen years, as technology has progressed rapidly. Now truck stops are filled with gadgets, including:
- GPS systems
- A variety of short wave and other radios
- DVDs and ways to play them
- Tablets and other portable electronic devices
Though some of these devices improve the safety of trucker driving, such as a GPS that is a hands-free device and allows navigation without diversion, others are much more likely to pose problems. Tablets and phones are a near-constant distraction risk, as there are games to play and even movies to attempt to watch while behind the wheel.
Clearly it is the responsibility of the truck driver to ensure safety, but for those spending long hours on the road, distraction can become very tempting, particularly as the hours mount and boredom and fatigue set in. In those cases, drivers may be tempted to turn to all the gadgets available at the local truck stop in order to pass the last little time before they finish their run.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a semi, there is a good chance that driver fatigue or distraction played a role. Too many long-haul truckers put their own entertainment ahead of the safety of others, and will continue to use dangerous gadgets even if it puts lives at risk. Please, hold truckers responsible for any distracted driving they do.