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PROPERTY & CASUALTY
APR 07, 2017
Brought to you by Amerisure
Amerisure Supports Distracted Driving Awareness Month
If you feel cellphone-related driving accidents are appearing more and more frequently in the news, you’d be correct. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in 2015 due to distracted driving. That translates to nearly ten people killed and more than one thousand injured each day. When it comes to work-related deaths, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause, accounting for over 35,000 deaths per year in the U.S.
To help draw more attention to this growing epidemic, the NSC has made April
Distracted Driving Awareness Month
. As surprising as the above statistics are, they don’t tell the whole story. The NSC has found strong evidence showing a sizable underreporting of the fact that drivers were using cell phones when the accident occurred. This leads to a substantial under-estimation of just how major this public safety threat truly is.
Many drivers feel hands-free devices make cellphone use safer, but this is a myth. Although many of us like to think that our brain is good at multitasking, it really isn’t. Whether you’re talking directly on your phone or going hand-held, your brain will automatically prioritize the phone call conversation first and the task of driving second. Research shows we see only about 50% of all the information in our driving environment when using our phones. It’s called "inattention blindness" and can cause accidents. If you drive while on your cellphone, you’re four times more likely to be in a crash that results in an injury or property damage. You’re also more likely to have a slowed reaction time equivalent to a .08 blood alcohol level.
Cellphone Safety at Work
While safety is of the utmost concern, work-related accidents are costly to employers – sometimes more than $24,500 in property damage, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If the accident results in an injury, that number rises to more than $150,000 or as much as $3.6 million if there’s a fatality. Many employers are recognizing the dangers of cellphone use while driving and are implementing policies to prevent distracted driving. The NSC has a
Free Cell Phone Policy Kit
to get employers started and it includes everything from white papers and posters to an activity guide and sample policy.
Other useful tools are cellphone blocking apps to discourage employee distracted driving, or “geofence” devices that can be installed in vehicles that use a virtual barrier around the driver. Also, companies like Uber are utilizing telematics to let them know when their drivers are speeding, braking too hard or holding a mobile device versus having it mounted on their dashboard. In fact, various fleet testing found that telematics reduced cellphone distractions by 77% to 100%.
The NSC has some simple tips to reduce distracted driving:
Either turn off your cellphone when you get in your car or put it in your trunk to avoid temptation.
If you’re frequently on the road, plan your route to include time to stop in parking lots or rest areas to make and return calls or texts.
If you must make or take an emergency call, pull off the road at a safe place to do so.
If you have a passenger, let him/her handle your texts and calls.
National Security Council President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman states, "The U.S. lags the rest of the developed world in addressing highway fatalities. We know what needs to be done; we just haven't done it."
Click here for more NSC Distracted Driving Awareness tips and information