If a commercial driver is traveling 55 mph on the highway and takes their eyes off the road for just five seconds, it’s equivalent to driving the length of a football field with their eyes closed. Whether they’re texting, eating or simply reading a billboard, your drivers can’t operate a vehicle safely if they’re distracted. And the consequences of doing so can be fatal.
With Distracted Driving Awareness Month coming to an end, we want to ensure that companies are still keeping driver safety top-of-mind year-round. That’s why we stress the importance of implementing a comprehensive driver training program with dedicated distracted driver courses – ensuring only the safest drivers are representing your brand.
Distracted Driving Statistics
Distracted driving cost 3,142 lives in 2020 – making up 8.1% of all fatalities that year. This is a 0.7% increase from the 3,119 reported in 2019. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that eight people are killed every day in the U.S. as a result of crashes involving a distracted driver. In 2019, it was reported that about one in five of those who died in crashes involving a distracted driver were not traveling in vehicles. They were instead pedestrians, cyclists or those otherwise outside a vehicle.
While drivers ages 15-20 are more likely to drive distracted than those 21 and over, it’s important to note that these younger drivers will be entering the workforce one day, making up the next generation of your fleet. With this in mind, employers will need to be more proactive about putting the safest drivers out on the road.
Driver Training & Distracted Driver Courses
Companies need to combat the rising trend of distracted drivers. First, it helps protect the community and makes our roads a safer place. Second because it prevents huge, unplanned costs that affect fleets.
Many companies consider preventative measures like driver training to be too expensive, or they undervalue the impact – especially those with high turnover rates. While driver training may seem like an unnecessary or daunting expense, the growing number of crashes in the past few years has brought an increase in lawsuits and nuclear verdicts. It’s been found that one in two personal injury lawsuits involve an auto crash, and three in five of these lawsuits are won by the plaintiff.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
- The average cost of a large truck crash involving a fatality is $3.6 million per crash.
- A crash with injuries costs almost $200,000 per crash.
- The average cost of all large truck crashes is about $91,000 per crash.
After considering these potential costs, the sticker price of driver training may not seem so bad. Driver training is a proven method of reducing crashes and violations. Fleets who train monthly have far fewer violations – 25% less than the industry average and 50% less than fleets who train twice a year.
We categorize driver training into three different safety strategy buckets:
- Remedial training helps you take immediate action after someone receives a violation.
- Frequent training can be used to proactively prevent future violations and crashes.
- “Premedial” training, or remedial training assigned to new hires based on previous violations, can help expand your hiring pool.
The shortest distance between knowing about driver risk and fixing it is by assigning relevant training (such as distracted driving courses). This helps protect your company by ensuring you’re demonstrating institutional control after an incident. Plus, you’re able to better retain your employees by getting safer drivers back on the road quickly.
For strategies on how to protect your company, employees, community and bottom line, download our white paper, Distracted Driving: Strategies for Refocusing Your Drivers on the Road.