Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including: talking or texting on the phone; eating and drinking; talking to people in the vehicle; fiddling with the music, entertainment or navigation system. It is anything that takes attention away from the task of safe driving.
Any NON-driving activity is a potential distraction and increases the risk of being involved in a crash.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 25 percent of all crashes involve some form of driver distraction, and thousands of people are killed each year in those crashes. Sadly, every single death is 100 percent preventable.
Why consider implementing a best practice, distraction-free policy?
To avoid legal liability and the financial injury to your bottom line they suggest. Juries all over the country are reacting very strongly to distracted driving cell phone crashes. They are awarding very large damage awards.
For just one injury alone, the damage award was $21 million. Increasingly, juries are awarding lots of money.
Do you text and drive? 98% of drivers know it’s wrong . . . yet 49% do it anyway.
• About 100 people die every day in car crashes.
• Up to 94% of crashes are caused by human error.
• Distraction is the #1 cause of human error and a top factor in fatal car crashes.
• Hands-free does not mean not risk-free.
• Multi-tasking is a myth. The brain switching causing us to miss seeing 50% of what’s around us like
other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
• 7% of all drivers at any given time are using their cell phones while driving.
87% of Drivers Engage in Risky Behaviors
Today, more Americans are on the road than ever before…and they’re getting into more accidents. Maybe we’re just prone to taking risks. Regardless, people do things that can cost you money!
A recent report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found 87% of drivers engaged in UN-safe behavior. Add to that rising medical and auto repair costs and you create a sort of double whammy that drives up the cost of auto insurance. Of course, and even more important, safe driving REDUCES the injury rate and saves lives.
People know that distracted driving is dangerous, but often feel they can’t afford to miss calls, emails, or text messages. Many feel their job depends on it. Fortunately, employers are recognizing this extremely hazardous expectation of always being connected and are changing company policy to ban cell phone use while driving. Ask us for a copy of a Sample Vehicle Use Policy – with wording you can adapt for your own needs and drivers.
Telematics Saves Lives
Vehicle telematics is powerful technology designed to help reduce crashes, increase fleet efficiencies, and improve customer service.
Data obtained from accelerometers, cellular communication, and on-board computers provide a huge quantity of information about where a vehicle is located and how it is being driven. Of course, simply having this information does not change outcomes.
Management’s support, commitment, creating cultural change and getting employee “buy-in” are critical keys to being able to successfully implement a telematics solution for your company, vehicles and drivers safety.
Your employees –– both in-the-office and on-the-road –– must see that the monitoring will specifically benefit them, and that it is not primarily a trigger for punitive action. They should understand that the main reason for using telematics is to improve safety for your drivers and others on the road.
Driver Scorecards and TeleMatics
Empowering employees by making information and self improvement tools available is also critical for success, A good telematics program provides a driver scorecard that tells the driver and management how well they are doing. The more data points the better (hard braking, hard turning, over-speed, hard acceleration, etc.).
In today’s competitive environment, the financial health of a company should resonate with employees at all levels, and knowing how each team member can contribute can be a strong motivating force. Other potential telematics benefits, such as lower collision, fuel, and maintenance costs, can help make for a healthier organizational bottom line.
Risk engineering experts have watched companies significantly improve their fleet safety programs with the use of telematics. It is not uncommon for companies to experience a 70% improvement in driver safety scores, and reduce the incidence and severity of accidents generating thousands of dollars in savings.
However, these instances have a common theme – they include an ongoing management commitment to a cultural change – NOT just installation of telematics equipment.
Other benefits include:
• Fuel Savings
– fewer “extra stops”, more direct routes, better mpg, less idling and less unauthorized usage.
• Labor Savings
– saves up to 30 minutes per day per vehicle.
• Increased Productivity
– at least one more job or delivery per day per employee.
• Improved Customer Service
– more predictable arrival times, better response times to emergencies and last-minute changes.
• Improved Communication
– 2-way messaging, all messaging date/time stamped and archived.
• Reduced Traffic Violations & Accidents
– monitoring of driving behavior with real-time alerts.
• Enhanced Security & Safety
– integrated GPS, monitoring, alerts, and messaging
Most of us believe our driving is safe and superior to other drivers on the road. There’s an expression for this — “We can’t see the forest for the trees”. Telemetrics and scorecards are objective facts that keep us focused.Filed Under: Independent Contractors