Most people are aware of the dangers of driving under the influence, but few understand the threat of distracted driving.
In 2019, 9% of all fatal crashes in the U.S. involved distracted driving. Throughout that year, 3,142 people were killed and around 424,000 injured due to this problem. An additional 566 people who weren’t in vehicles, such as bicyclists and pedestrians, were also killed.
If you manage a fleet, you need to know that your drivers are focused on the road. Only then can you have confidence in their safety.
What is distracted driving?
Texting, talking on, or using your phone aren’t the only things that distract you from driving. Anything that takes your attention, eyes, and thoughts away from the road qualifies as a distraction. Some common actions include:
- Checking notifications on your phone
- Changing the music or radio
- Watching activities outside of the vehicle
Though these actions may seem inconsequential, they limit your awareness as a driver. You won’t know who or what is around you, or what they’re doing, opening the door for accidents.
Why is distracted driving dangerous?
When you aren’t focusing on driving, you can’t react quickly to unexpected events. If the car in front of you stops or turns unexpectedly, you have a greater chance of hitting them. Pedestrians crossing the road or bicyclists sharing your lane may go unnoticed until it’s too late.
Driving distractions grow more dangerous the faster you go. Looking away from the road for just five seconds at 55 MPH, for example, means you travel the length of a football field blindly. You won’t have the awareness or capacity to respond to any changes around you, putting yourself and others at risk.
How do you limit distracted driving?
The most effective way to prevent distracted driving is to limit your distractions. Create policies or use equipment that keep phones out of reach and sight. Make sure drivers know to stop to eat or adjust GPS devices. You can also offer strategies for reducing distractions, such as recognizing mental distractions or creating playlists so they don’t fiddle with the music.
Remind drivers to constantly check their surroundings. They will recognize and react more quickly to problems when they know what is happening around them. Then, no matter the circumstances, they have a better chance of making it home.
How do you address distracted driving in your fleet? Explore our telematics installation services to learn how you can implement fleet management and safety devices in your vehicles.