Distracted driving happens regularly. It happens because of texting, eating, reading maps, adjusting the radio, and more. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were over 2,800 deaths in 2018 associated with distracted driving.
When you’re managing a fleet with drivers who are behind the wheel for extended periods, you want to make sure they’re being safe. All it takes is a second for a driver to become distracted for an accident to occur. You can provide training, but you have to know that distractions are an issue, first.
Why Distracted Driving Occurs
Distracted driving occurs for several reasons. Drivers don’t set out with the purpose of being distracted. However, it happens because they’re trying to do too much at once.
Some of the most common reasons for distractions include:
- Sending text messages
- Phone calls
- Getting directions
- Eating food
- Reading a document
While there are various technologies designed to help limit distractions, taking eyes off the road for five seconds can be disastrous. Anything you can do to limit distractions can help.
Over 40 states have banned texting behind the wheel as a way to reduce driver distractions. As such, if you are found texting, it can lead to ticketed. Some states have made it a secondary offense, which means that they can only ticket you if they pulled you over for another reason, such as speeding. Other states have made it a primary offense, which means they can pull you over because they saw you texting while driving.
You may be asking your drivers too much. You may not have supplied them with enough tools to get done without being distracted.
If you want to cut down on distractions, have a talk with all of the drivers throughout your fleet. Find out what they feel could be done to improve the time they spend behind the wheel. You may have to invest in fleet management systems or provide them with breaks so that they can pull over to have a meal before getting back on the road.
Anything you can do to prevent distractions should be taken – and investing in some technology can make a big difference, too. Let your employees know that you’re willing to hear ideas that they may have about ways to keep them focused on the road.
How You Can Prevent Distractions
One of the best ways to prevent distractions is to find out what kind of driving habits your drivers have. By using a dashcam, it allows you to look in on where your drivers are. You can even see where they are on the road in real-time. With a geo-fence in place, you can track where they are and get comprehensive driving reports to see where they’ve been through throughout their day – including fast-food restaurants that could potentially involve eating and drinking while driving.
The BlackVue Fleet Tracking solution allows you to install dashcams in the vehicles throughout your fleet. You can access the view from the dashcams in real-time from anywhere over the Cloud. The footage stored on the dashcams’ microSD cards can be browsed remotely as well. You can back up videos to the Cloud manually as you browse or configure the dashcams to automatically upload Event videos for safekeeping.
As you review the footage periodically, you can find out a lot about how your drivers are doing. Find out if they’re crossing the median lines too frequently. Look to see the kind of distance they are maintaining with the vehicles in front of them. Even find out if they’re being too risky by driving through yellow (and even red lights).
Another way to prevent distractions is by providing employees with voice-activated controls. The idea is to keep their eyes on the road. If they have to rely on maps, making calls while holding the phone, or more, they’re going to become distracted.
It’s important to remember that your fleet drivers may have licenses, but they may not have specific training regarding how to be less distracted. You can take advantage of defensive driving safety programs. This can help to minimize collisions and violations. It will also protect your operations and save you money throughout the year.
Effective Ways to Deal with Distracted Drivers
Employees need to know the dangers of distracted driving. From the moment that you bring them on as an employee, it’s important to discuss the dangers as well as the repercussions.
You’re trusting employees to drive your fleet vehicles when you hand them the keys. However, you don’t know all that they are going to do behind the wheel.
Be sure that you provide adequate training. After the training, have them sign off on a form that states that they have received the training to prevent distracted driving.
After that, it’s a good idea to have regular performance evaluations where you talk to them about distractions on the road. If you have proof that they have been driving distractedly, either through dashcam footage, traffic tickets, or an accident, review the protocol with them. Document the issues so that they are in their permanent record.
If you continue to deal with employees who are not going to follow the rules, you may have no choice but to part ways with them. It’s going to cost you a lot of money over the course of the year if you have distracted drivers on your payroll. It can cost you more in insurance premiums as well as deductibles if/when they get into an accident.
Invest in Technology to Reduce Distracted Driving
Plenty of technology exists to help you reduce distracted driving throughout your fleet. From helping employees to use voice-activated controls to keep their eyes on the road to dashcam-based vehicle tracking system you can reduce the number of accidents that occur within your fleet of vehicles