Reduce accident rates by addressing distracted driving in your organisation
A fleet is only as good as its drivers. With a careful driving staff, you'll have a much easier time lowering risk, lowering accident rates, fulfilling H&S duties, and making sure your fleet is as operational as possible.
One way to start is to have a policy that addresses distracted driving.
With documented, well-executed distracted driving rules, you'll reduce the chances of accidents and driver injuries, and simply keep more vehicles on the road. Focused fleet drivers are drivers who get to their destinations safely - and are your partners in lowering costs and overall risk.
In this blog, we look at why addressing distracted driving is an important aspect of accident management, and how you can establish an effective distracted driving policy in your organisation.
Why driver distraction is an important issue
Even for experienced drivers, it can take just two seconds-worth of distraction to cause an accident.
Distractions on the road are extremely common, and too often lead to costly vehicle damage, serious injuries, and fatalities. Between 2014 and 2016, distraction played a role in 12% of all casualty crashes, 8% of fatal crashes, and 9% of serious injury crashes.
For a corporate fleet, those crashes can represent high costs, major losses of productivity, and serious liabilities. Sources of distraction can be just about anything: conversations with other passengers, text notifications or ringing from a cell phone, scenery, or a lack of mental focus. In order to stay safe on the road, drivers must know how to limit diversions.
How drivers can avoid distraction
First, fleet drivers should be reminded of the dangers of the mobile phone: an essential everyday device, but a possibly deadly distraction behind the wheel. While driving, cell phones should be off, and drivers should remember it's illegal to text or make calls while behind the wheel.
Second, drivers should make sure their vehicles are as comfortable as possible. The driver's seat and mirrors should always be adjusted for maximum comfort. And fleet drivers should only be on the road when they're adequately rested and alert. For longer journeys, this may mean pre-planned, even mandatory, breaks for rest and refreshment.
Finally, drivers should know exactly where they're headed before setting out. When the destination is unfamiliar, planning with a GPS or checking your company's preferred routes is advisable. This lessens drivers' anxiety about getting to a certain place on time, and eliminates the need to keep checking routes while driving.
How to establish a distracted driving policy for your company
Executing a company policy is an important step towards controlling risk and lowering incident rates. It can be done in 4 simple steps:
Create a written policy. Write a policy that addresses your company's guidelines for safe driving, including how to handle on-the-road distractions. It should educate drivers on the very real dangers, with rules and recommendations for handling various disturbances.
Communicate the policy. Insist that employees read and sign off on their understanding of the rules, and continue to stress the policy's importance. Use email, newsletters and meetings to highlight relevant news about safe driving. In your driver training programme, go over potential distractions in depth. Continual reminders will help fleet drivers notice and avoid more dangers.
Lead by example. Managers and executives must adhere as well, if they expect staff to do the same. Your company's leaders should avoid communicating with employees who are on the road, and share personal experiences related to attentive driving.
Promote safe driving behaviour. Reward employees who have an incident-free record. This will incentivise others and help create a culture of safer driving. Also, give employees a voice - encourage them to speak up on questions or concerns about the policy. Fostering open communication is another way of keeping everyone aware, and therefore, safe.
By creating a distracted driving policy, spreading awareness, and holding staff accountable, it's fairly simple to lower rates and risk. It's also a major step towards fulfilling H&S obligations and securing your company's bottom line.
Topics: Accident Management