Distracted driving has always been an issue, but in the past couple of decades, the number of accidents related to distracted driving has skyrocketed. Today, nearly one in five vehicle-related accidents are caused by distracted driving.
For fleets, the increase in distracted driving is impacting more than just fleet safety, as insurance premiums have risen in recent years as a direct result. Dash cameras and additional fleet management tools are helping to curb distracted driving, but simply being aware of the most common causes is a great first step for any fleet manager.
According to a recent Virginia Tech study, these are the most common causes of distracted driving for those in the transportation industry.
Reaching for an object
It might sound simple, but reaching across to the other seat, or digging in the center console can be one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving.
A glance at cell phone notifications, or an alert from an ELD, are daily distractions that we are all accustomed to, but even looking away from the road for a split second can result in an accident.
In-cab technology continues to grow. ELDs might have been the first piece, but dash cameras and more are potential distractions. While these tools are essential for modern fleets, encourage drivers to adjust their technology before hitting the road.
4. Removing or adjusting clothes
Removing a light jacket, or cleaning up ketchup that fell on a shirt, is probably one of the most under-the-radar distractions that we unconsciously do every day.
5. Adjusting or using an electronic device - cell phone, tablet, etc.
Although most states have laws prohibiting cell phone usage while driving, the urge to answer that text, check that Instagram notification, or call a loved one can have deadly consequences.
6. Reaching for food or drink
We are a society on the go, and for truck drivers, grabbing a quick snack or reaching for your water bottle is inevitable. Before you take off, position snacks and drinks so that they are easily within reach.
7. Using an electronic dispatching device
Getting information from the dispatch team is a critical business function. Work with both dispatchers and drivers to minimize alerts while the driver is actively driving. Schedule messaging to go out during breaks to stay compliant and improve fleet safety.
8. Outside distractions
We are all guilty of rubber-necking when we see something as we drive. Focus on the task at hand and don’t become another statistic.
9. Tobacco Use
Reaching for a lighter, finding that full pack of cigarettes, and opening your snuff can, all leads to a more distracted driver.
10. Eating or drinking
Snacking on a banana is one thing, but eating an entire meal while driving can be avoided. We suggest that drivers eat while fueling up their vehicles, or pull into a rest area for a few minutes. If you must, opt for driving-friendly meals that won’t make a mess – think burrito over a Subway sandwich.
Curbing Distracted Driving
Fleets interested in improving fleet safety will eventually need to address distracted driving. In-cab technology, such as driver-facing dash cameras offers advanced technology to identify distracted driving behavior and relay instances to fleet management in real time.
In turn, coaching and feedback can help drivers become more situationally aware and reduce the likelihood of future distractions. To learn more about our video telematics partners and how they can help your fleet curb distracted driving, visit our website and connect with our team for a consultation and demo.