Whether it be a driver behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle, someone making extra money through a ride-share application, an employee driving for work or a passenger car on the highway, there are ever-present distractions that can impact any type of driver. These distractions may be a cell phone, a chatty passenger or someone eating while behind the wheel. Fleet distracted driving is a serious issue that continues to grow despite combative efforts put in place by law enforcement and companies alike. Understanding not only the present state of distracted driving but also the need to prevent it could save your company more than just money – it could save lives.
Explore Our Free White Paper: Strategies to Combat Fleet Distracted Driving
The Rise of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving has surpassed drunk driving as the largest cause of crashes in the United States. In fact, distracted driving was reported in 2019 as a factor in almost 9% of fatal behind-the-wheel crashes and accounted for roughly 20% of vehicular incident injuries. Such fatal trends aren’t meant to be ignored and require action from multiple parties.
States are taking immense measures in order to combat the rise of distracted driving, specifically when it comes to cell phone usage. A band of 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands have all in some way either banned texting or hands-on cellular use while driving.
The need for other stakeholders such as fleet and transportation companies, insurance carriers and more to rally behind risk mitigation efforts towards distracted driving is also integral, as enforcement and driving laws typically vary state-by-state – leaving a lack of precedent.
Who Partakes in Distracted Driving
According to the CDC, those most at risk for distracted driving include young adults between the ages of 20 and 29. Drivers in the age range of 15 to 19 are more likely to be distracted, though, than drivers 20 and older when considering fatal crashes.
Additionally, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 88% of millennials engage in at least one risky behavior while driving within 30 days. Such common behavior seems to have desensitized the general public.
Over 84% of drivers state that they recognize the dangers that come with cell phone distractions and find it unacceptable that drivers text or email while behind the wheel. Despite these views, 36% of those surveyed admit to having read or sent a text or email while driving in the previous month.
We know that distracted driving is a problem, yet many drivers don’t stop indulging in this dangerous behavior.
Our Top 4 Fleet Distracted Driving Prevention Tips
Stop Relying on a Self-Reporting Policy
Self-reporting is part of the many safety initiatives companies implement, as they place their trust in those who work for them in the hopes of two-way transparency and honesty. The unfortunate reality is that many drivers will be less than willing to share if they’ve incurred a negative driving violation related to distracted driving, especially if good driving behavior is integral in maintaining employment. Companies need to make a more proactive effort in discovering risky behaviors and violations as soon as possible.
Gain Full Visibility into Your Drivers’ Behaviors
Modern driver risk management technologies offer companies a solid understanding of the risk that exists across their driver populations. To start, telematics data can play an integral part in ensuring that fleet drivers remain focused on the road at all times. This level of visibility in and around the cab holds drivers more accountable, and when they do show signs of driving distracted, companies can immediately intervene with targeted training and other interventions before that driver is involved in a crash.
But telematics is only a piece of the puzzle when it comes to evaluating driver risk and mitigating fleet distracted driving. Implementing a continuous MVR monitoring solution provides ongoing insight into distracted driving violations your employees receive on their motor vehicle reports (MVRs). This can help you detect and address these violations as soon as possible as well – providing your company with a more complete picture of your risk. It also diminishes any surprises during your annual or quarterly MVR reviews.
Ensure Your Drivers Are Well Rested and Taking Proper Breaks
Consider the dangers of driving while sleepy. Fatigued driving is more common than drunk driving and has been responsible for a large number of crashes over the years, with a CDC-estimated 6,000 deaths caused by a lack of sleep.
Getting more sleep is the only answer to avoid driving drowsy and subsequently distracted driving. Ensure employees are empowered to pull off at rest stops if needed, drive no more than two hours without a break and establish drowsy driving policies in writing. After all, there’s no destination or deadline worth risking anyone’s life.
Correct Distracted Driving Behavior with Training
Even the best drivers fall victim to impulse. Those who drive for your company are human, and as a result, may make momentary bad decisions. That’s why it’s critical to stay on top of distracted driving behaviors and assign training ASAP to mitigate them. Fleet driver training is far more than just a corrective tool. We categorize training into three different safety strategy buckets:
- Remedial training helps you take immediate action after a driver receives a violation or showcases signs of risky driving.
- Frequent training can be used on an ongoing basis to proactively prevent future violations and crashes across your entire driver population.
- “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. 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.
Distracted Driving is Preventable
With the emergence of technology and a more connected world, it’s no longer just impaired drivers putting those you share the road with at risk.
To discover more distracted driving prevention tips and strategies to help fight and reduce this dangerous behind-the-wheel behavior across your fleet, download our white paper.