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One of the best reasons to enroll in truck driving school, besides the fact that you’ll learn the specific skills needed to pass the CDL exam and receive lifetime job assistance after graduation, is because of the expert insights you’ll learn from your instructors that can help jumpstart your professional driving career. That being said, there’s one thing it doesn’t take decades behind the wheel to figure out: distracted driving is dangerous. The problem of distracted driving is even more serious for commercial truck drivers considering the size of the vehicles they operate. To help keep you safe and out of legal trouble, here are some things you should know about distracted driving as a truck driver.

Increased Risk of Accidents

Why is distracted driving such a big deal? Because every time you look down at your phone to send a text message or scroll through your iPod to find a song to listen to, you take your eyes off the road. Consider this: at 55 miles per hour, a truck can travel over 300 feet in the few seconds it takes to dial a number or read a text message. That’s longer than a football field. Imagine driving that distance with your eyes closed and it’s easy to see why distracted driving has been said to be as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Distracted Driving Penalties

Considering the dangers of distracted driving among commercial drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and state authorities impose steep penalties on drivers caught using hand-held phones or texting while driving. For example, drivers can be fined up to $2,750 per offense, and multiple violations can result in the driver being disqualified for up to 120 days. Over-the-road drivers engaged in interstate commerce are subject to FMCSA distracted driving regulations regardless of what state they are driving in, even if that state does not have a ban on distracted driving.