You may have heard the disturbing statistics of distracted driving and accidents, and how it now ranks right up there with drunk driving and speeding. This is one of the top causes of traffic fatalities and serious injuries on the road.
We should all understand the dangers of texting and driving. Still, why do we do it? What causes us to answer a text message even when we know it doesn't matter or pick up a phone call when evidence continues to show us what a bad idea it can be?
Don't Overestimate Your Abilities
A lot of distracted driving comes down to an overestimation of your driving abilities. People think, "It can't happen to me!" and the next thing they know, they've rear-ended a driver. Around 60 percent of all drivers under the age of 35 think talking on their cell phone doesn't hurt their driving performance.
Unfortunately, research hands us a harsher reality. In fact, it shows how as much as 50 percent of the information within their line of vision doesn't get taken in while driving and talking on the cell phone.
Researchers have called this, "inattentional blindness," and you have some fascinating YouTube videos on the subject. It might also be called tunnel vision where you feel like you have paid attention to the road, but your mind can't focus on both the distraction and driving at the same time.
Distracted driving comes with heartbreaking and expensive losses. They have become a deadly reality check. What can fleet managers do to combat this dangerous practice?
Set and Enforce Clear Procedures
Like almost every successful initiative out there, education becomes your first line of defense against distracted driving. Most drivers probably understand how they shouldn't drive distracted on the phone, or texting, but they may not have a clear understanding of how they should react to these circumstances.
For example, how do you respond when you have a boss who calls you while driving? In addition, what happens if you get an email or text from a client with immediate demands. It's not logical to ignore these things because it could cost you.
If you're not in as much of a rush, you might pull over to the side of the road. Another case might be to get a hands-free Bluetooth to mitigate the risk.
No Distracted Driving—No Exceptions!
First, fleet drivers should understand what constitutes distracted driving. Second, they should know how to successfully avoid it. You want to lay the rules and guidelines in a clear and concise manner that's simple to follow.
Create an outline of how to react in each situation. Whatever could tempt your fleet drivers to take their eyes off the road, you want them to know how to respond to it. In addition, you should detail the consequences in a clear and precise fashion. When you enforce these policies, you will give them credibility so that drivers will also take them more seriously.
Take Advantage of Technology
While you might not be able to ride in the passenger seat with each of your fleet drivers, you can ensure they stick to the rules by installing a safety app. This will identify instances of when drivers have become distracted on the road.
Through this software, you will compile your data for each driver and record the number of times they had their device out of position.
If you'd like to learn more about fleet safety and how to bring it to an end, contact us. Wilmar Inc., has been doing business since 1980, and we'd love to show you how our expertise can deliver a results-driven solution.