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PROPERTY & CASUALTY
DEC 05, 2016
Brought to you by Amerisure
Behind the Wheel? 3 Safe Driving Reminders
property & casualty
The American dream is rich with visions of freedom and independence. The open road — whether Route 66 or a country lane — represents the realization of those great ideals.
Today’s commercial vehicle drivers — independent owner-operators, delivery drivers, construction professionals, or any of the millions of workers who drive for a living — have that open road as their workplace and the front seat as their office.
Every day in that office they must make a decision: Make safe driving a top priority today. Those who do so make the road “workplace” a safer one.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) reported the high human and financial costs of unsafe driving:
21,022 passenger vehicle occupants died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2014, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.
Non-fatal crash injuries to drivers and passengers led to more than $45 billion of lifetime medical and work loss costs in 2013.
Here are three positive habits for commercial drivers behind the steering wheel:
. Yes, they can be an uncomfortable inconvenience. But seat belts save life and limb. Evidence proves it. Consider another CDC statistic:
More than half of teens and adults
(ages 20-44) who died in crashes in 2014 were unrestrained at the time of the crash.
By using a seatbelt, drivers cut the risk of:
Injury from being tossed around inside the vehicle during a crash.
Dashboard impact by a sudden stop.
Being ejected from a vehicle onto the roadway or another vehicle.
Suffering injuries from non-crash situations, such as bumps in the road, potholes, dropping off the road’s edge, or sudden loss of control.
Plus, seat belts can help keep a driver conscious and able to react after the initial crash. An unconscious driver in an accident faces even greater risks if the vehicle enters the water or catches
Put the phone in the right place. Using a mobile phone for texting and phone calls in a commercial motor vehicle is hazardous. A number of states have enacted legislation outlawing the use of mobile devices while a person is operating a motor vehicle. It’s also prohibited for interstate truck and bus drivers by rules published by the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(FMCSA) with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
What qualifies as texting? Texting means “manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device,” the FMCSA states, or “pressing more than a single button to start or end a phone call.” FMCSA notes using a mobile phone while driving can only be done on a “hands-free phone located in close proximity.”
Keep eyes on the road
, hands on the wheel, and mind on the task.
Smart phones and other devices are not the only distraction drivers face. Everything from food, scenery, music or even thoughts or emotions can distract a driver from the task at hand.
Don’t be distracted in any way when driving. That’s the message commercial drivers need to continually remind themselves of.
Distracted driving can significantly impair a commercial vehicle driver’s:
Visual search patterns or road scanning
Ability to maintain the appropriate speed and lane position
Ability to judge safe gaps in traffic
Awareness of vehicles and people in the road
Distracted driving is impaired driving. And impaired driving causes accidents. Skillful, safe driving requires constant attention and complete concentration.
How to be an attentive driver:
Get set for the drive: Look for people and hazards in the area before entering the driver’s seat.
Practice basic driving fundamentals: Put — and keep — both hands on the steering wheel and both eyes on the road.
Shift eyes every two seconds. This puts the gaze out ahead of the vehicle and focuses the brain on driving.
Check the rear-view mirror every five to eight seconds.
When approaching construction zones, be attentive, slow down and look out for workers. Expect changing road surfaces and shifts in traffic patterns.
Drive defensively. Expect the unexpected and look for an “out” — an escape route from hazards.
Signal intentions early enough to give others time to prepare for what’s next. Not only must the driver be aware of others, it’s the job of a professional driver to make sure others on the road are aware of him or her.
Amerisure offers commercial drivers and commercial fleet managers more
fleet safety tips
like these on our