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PROPERTY & CASUALTY
AUG 09, 2017
Does Your Company Have a Distracted Driver Policy?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
that 391,000 people were injured in 2015 from motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts our attention from driving, including eating or drinking, talking or texting on a cell phone, or using a navigation system. Approximately nine people die every day because of distracted driving, accounting for about 10% of all traffic fatalities.
If your business owns a fleet of vehicles or has employees who drive their own vehicles for work, you should be concerned. Distracted driving is dangerous. According to a
by the University of Utah, using a cell phone in the car — even hands-free — delays a driver’s reaction time as much as being legally drunk. Researchers also found that people who send text messages while driving are six times more likely to crash.
NHTSA estimates that every day some 660,000 drivers are on their cell phones, creating an enormous potential for deaths and injuries on our roads. The threat to commercial vehicle safety is even greater since trucks and tractor-trailers are harder to stop and have limited maneuverability compared to cars and light trucks.
What can you do?
You can start by establishing a safety program that minimizes driving distractions. Your goal should be to keep employees safe while on the road, protect your company’s human and financial resources, and guard against potential liability in the event of an accident. Here are some items to consider:
Create a culture of safety
. The commitment to driver safety begins at the top. Senior management must provide the leadership, policies and resources to create a culture of safety in your workplace. Actively encouraging employee awareness and participation at all levels will also help the effort to succeed.
Develop a distracted driver agreement
. Have your employees sign a written agreement acknowledging awareness of your driver safety policy and your expectations regarding driver performance and vehicle use. A typical agreement would make clear that mobile devices are not to be used when the vehicle is in motion.
Train your employees to drive defensively
. Drivers who practice basic defensive skills such as continuously evaluating driving conditions, scanning ahead and creating a safe following distance have fewer accidents. That means fewer lives lost, less time off for injury and less cost to the company.
Establish a reward or incentive program
. Help improve safety by rewarding good driver behavior and incorporating it into your employee performance reviews.
Discipline bad drivers
. Develop a policy for dealing with drivers who have moving violations or are involved in preventable accidents. Make sure you consistently take action as specified in your policy and that your employees understand the consequences of violating their driving agreement.
Take advantage of technology
. Cab cameras, telematics and apps that disable devices when a vehicle is moving are ways you can monitor employee driving, reduce accidents and increase vehicle efficiency. For example, Amerisure’s
telematics pilot program
has lowered accidents for some policyholders by as much as 50%.
Reducing the risk of distracted driving can save lives and money. It all starts with understanding the danger that it poses to your employees and business. Take steps to educate yourself and your company. Create a culture of safety that minimizes distractions and rewards good driving behavior.