Safeguard Your Business from Distracted Driving
As Distracted Driving Awareness Month closes, we wanted to share some information and tips on changing driving behaviors to protect your business and employees against distracted driving. Commercial Fleet Managers in all industry groups, including the wood and lumber industry, have growing concerns regarding the issue of distracted driving. It continues to be a root cause of vehicle related accidents on the roads today.
Distracted driving refers to any activity that takes one’s attention away from driving which increases the chance of a motor vehicle crash.
Some examples of common distracted driving activities are:
- Cellular phone usage
- Adjusting the radio, CD, MP3
- Talking to passengers
- Watching a video
- Using navigation system
Looking at the Stats
The research, statistics and trends are too much to ignore. Distracted driving, particularly the use of mobile devices while driving, poses a serious threat to the safety of everyone on the road.
- In 2020, 3,142 people were killed by distracted driving. (NHTSA)
- Roughly 20% of injuries occurring in car accident crashes involve distracted driving. (NHTSA)
- Cell phone-related distracted driving is the #1 cause of vehicle collisions. (NHTSA)
Taking your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds equates to driving the length of a football field at a speed of 55 miles per hour. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute)
- At-fault collisions can lead to nuclear verdicts ($10M+), which is becoming all too common.
- Drivers are distracted by their phones at least 10% of their driving time. (NHTSA)
- Only 47 states (including California) have bans on texting while driving. (IIHS)
Many states have enacted laws to help prevent distracted driving. These include banning texting while driving and implementing hands-free laws. There are also numerous other ways you and your drivers can take action against distracted driving, including:
- HAVE A PRE-TRIP ROUTINE – Prior to driving, turn off your phone, set your GPS, familiarize yourself with the controls (seats, mirrors, sound system, and climate controls), and stow other electronic devices. If it is a potential distraction, address it before you begin driving or after you are safely parked.
- BAN BUSINESS IN THE CAR – Do not use your commute time (or any time you are driving) to make sales calls or participate in conference calls – even if just listening in. Always pull over to a safe location to take or make calls and check messages.
- TURN MOBILE DEVICES OFF – Avoid the temptation to talk or text on your phone; simply turn off and stow your device before you begin driving. No call or text is that important.
- MANAGE YOUR TECHNOLOGY – If you’re having trouble breaking the habit of using your mobile device while driving, consider using a call and text blocking app or turn on the Do Not Disturb mode on your phone. This will let others know you are driving and to queue calls and texts until you are safely pulled over.
- HELP OTHERS – Make it a practice to discontinue talking to anyone you know is currently driving.
- BE AN ADVOCATE – If you are a passenger and the driver is not focusing on the road, don’t be afraid to speak up! Offer to help with directions or even make a call or send a text on his or her behalf. You’ll be looking out for your own safety, as well as that of the driver, the other passengers and those sharing the road with you.
- BE A ROLE MODEL – Kids can be great enforcers. If they know your rule is “no phone use while driving,” they’ll remind you to hang it up if you slip up. Remember that they will do what you do. Even if your kids are far from the age of becoming a driver, demonstrate now the behavior you’ll expect from them. Set the right example concerning the use of mobile devices while driving.
Your employees face distracted driving risks on every trip, whether they are leaving the yard, delivering to customers, or returning home. It is important that you and your drivers commit to driving distraction-free to safeguard your business, your employees, and others.
For further information, visit the PLM Loss Control Center for more resources on distracted driving. PLM has partnered with several service providers such as LifeSaver Mobile, a cell phone blocking and monitoring tool, and Azuga, a provider of fleet telematics and safety cameras, to offer tools to fight against distracted driving and other risky driving behaviors. You can also contact your local Loss Control Service Representative for more assistance.