Why Distracted Driving Awareness Month Should Not Go Unnoticed

When driving to work you may like to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. You place the mug in the cup holder, and when it comes time to take a sip, you look down to reach for the drink. The brief time it took you to reach for your mug increased your chances of getting into a car crash by 800%. Even though your eyes did not move far from the road, it may have taken 4 to 5 seconds. If you are traveling at fifty-five miles per hour, taking your eyes off the road for that amount of time is equivalent to blindly driving across the length of a football field.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), every day 9 people die from distracted driving; that equals 3,285 people per year. Unfortunately, previous years have proven more than 3,285 people are killed in crashes involving distracted drivers. To help reduce that number, April has been named National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This month is used to bring awareness to the dangers associated with distracted driving.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving occurs when you engage in an activity that takes your eyes off the road. It can be as simple as checking on your kids in the rearview mirror. Distracted driving is all too common. The result of distracted driving is losing the focus you need to drive safely. There are four types of distractions:

  1. Visual: looking at something, or someone, other than the road
  2. Manual: removing your hands from the steering wheel
  3. Cognitive: losing focus and thinking about something other than driving
  4. Auditory: hearing something that is not related to driving

Even though you may be paying close attention to the road, it does not mean the drivers around you are practicing safe driving behaviors. Ten distracted driving behaviors occur the most frequently, and they can often go unnoticed by other drivers on the road:

  • Cell phone use
  • Getting lost in thought
  • Looking at something or someone outside of the car
  • Paying attention to someone in the car
  • Using a device within the car, other than a phone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting the radio or A/C
  • Using a vehicle function like cruise control
  • Moving objects around inside the vehicle
  • Smoking

How to avoid your drivers from distracted driving

According to the Legal Theory of Respondent Superior, an employer is liable for the actions of their employees while they’re on the job. That means if one of your employees negligently operates a company vehicle by driving distracted, and they end up injuring someone, the victim can sue the employer directly. If the victim does sue the employer, you are looking at $24,000 per crash, $150,000 per injury, and millions of dollars per death caused by the crash.

How AssetWorks can prevent distracted driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one hundred thousand police-reported crashes are a direct result of driver fatigue. To make sure your drivers remain safe on the road, employers should enforce a no-distraction driving policy if they have not done so already. This policy means drivers agree to practice safe driving and agree to the consequences if they drive distracted.

Another option to ensure your drivers are safe on the road is to invest in driver behavior monitoring, such as AssetWorks Field Services Solution (FSS). FSS sends updates in real-time whenever bad driving behavior is attempted: speeding, swerving, hard braking, idling, and any other unauthorized driving habits. These updates allow managers to analyze the activity to create a driver scorecard report to keep track of drivers’ performances.

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