The next time you drive, I want you to count the number of distractions that catch your attention. While most only think of texting or phone calls as distractions, many occur without ever catching your notice.
Glancing down to change the station when a commercial break starts or, worse yet, fiddling with your phone to select a different song
Trying to read the odd fact on the side of the U-Haul you’re passing
Eating that breakfast sandwich you weren’t going to get
Thinking of last night’s Game of Thrones episode and wondering what will happen next
Driving distractions can be anything — anything — that captures your attention visually, cognitively, or manually. If your mind, eyes, and body are doing anything except staying aware of the road, you’re distracted. It’s that easy and happens to everyone, all the time.
To keep your drivers safe as they go from job to job, here’s what you need to know about distracted driving.
1. It can happen in a second
Most distractions seem unimportant. You’re just changing the radio or reaching down to grab the water bottle you dropped. Though it may seem quick, looking away from the road for just five seconds while driving at 55 MPH means driving the length of a football without any awareness of what’s happening around you. If someone around you drives recklessly or you hit something in the road, that five seconds can completely change your life. When talking to drivers, stress the importance of total awareness. Whatever else is going on can wait until you find a safe place to stop.
2. It may be illegal
As phones get better, distracted driving gets worse. To combat the issue, many state governments are creating laws to ban cell phone use while driving. These laws may include just texting and driving, but they could also be more strict. Some states, like Maryland, have outlawed even holding your phone in your hand while driving. As you train your drivers, be sure to cover the laws enforced by the states they will drive through. While a citation is frustrating, an accident or death is even worse.
How do you reduce distracted driving among your fleet drivers? What rules do you have for your fleet?