Understanding commercial truck drivers’ decision-making process concerning distracted driving

Swedler, D.I., Pollack, K.M., and Gielen, A.C.

This research used a mixed-methods approach to examine truck drivers’ decision-making about driving distracted on the job. Interviews with experts in truck safety and distracted driving were conducted to gather qualitative data and gauge how drivers perceive distractions and the importance of supervisors enforcing distracted driving policies. A total of 11 experts in truck driver safety or distracted driving participated in the interview. Results highlighted the benefits of dispatch devices or cell phones as methods that enable drivers to stay in touch and manage fatigue while driving. Despite these benefits, participants agreed that an important drawback of these devices was the level of attention needed to initiate a call since this task requires drivers to briefly take their eyes off the road.

An online survey of 446 truck drivers in the United States was also undertaken. Survey results found that behavioural intentions were more important in regard to texting and crash/near crash outcomes. In addition, it suggested that enforced, explicit company policies about distracted driving, with no competing implicit expectations, could reduce distracted driving among employees.

Based on the results of this study, authors highlighted that managers should be aware that company culture and organizational norms related to text messages and dispatch can influence distracted driving. The importance of company policies regarding driver safety, and the enforcement of them can reduce distracted driving among employees. In addition, the targeting drivers’ intentions as a distracted driving intervention could have varying effects, depending on the relevance of the work-related distraction.

Swedler, D. I., Pollack, K. M., & Gielen, A. C. (2015). Understanding commercial truck drivers’ decision-makin process concerning distracted driving. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 78, 20-28.