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PROPERTY & CASUALTY
SEP 27, 2019
Distracted Driving is a Dangerous Form of Multitasking. Here’s How You Can Help Prevent it.
It’s easy to get behind the wheel and seemingly arrive at your destination without feeling like any time has passed. Once you’ve driven a route frequently, it almost becomes automatic.
The repetition creates and strengthens synaptic connections, called brain plasticity. However, when putting conscious effort into several tasks behind the wheel, like texting and driving, the brain is significantly strained. The more strain put on the brain, the less it’s able to do effectively.
The illusion of multitasking
Technically, humans can only have one conscious experience at a time. However, the brain can run several automatic processes simultaneously — such as eating, walking and talking. The brain is rapidly switching between tasks in this type of scenario. The brain is so powerful that it can switch focus in just a tenth of a second. This is what gives the illusion of multitasking. The nearly seamless transition between tasks falsely boosts the confidence of multitasking abilities.
Once the brain learns an action, it assigns it to the subcortical networks — making it automatic. The subcortical part of the brain controls complex motor and non-motor functions, which makes it ideal for mechanical and repetitive tasks.
How this affects driving behavior
In short, if a driver is concentrating on something other than the road, there are less brain resources available to drive safely. Using a cellphone or other handheld device can have a negative impact on attentiveness, learning abilities and overall mindfulness — which, in turn, can cause a distracted driving accident.
Why some people multitask while driving
Seeing or hearing a notification, such as a text message, triggers dopamine in the brain’s reward center. The expectation of another reward, like a reply message, creates even higher levels of dopamine. These signals from the reward center are hard to resist.
Prevent distracted driving in your fleet
Even if the reward is hard to resist, distracted driving isn’t worth it. 20 percent of commercial fleets are involved in a crash annually, and 25 percent of all crashes involve the use of cellphones.
That’s where cellphone blocking technology can help. Some commercial fleets have experienced a 25 to 50 percent reduction in at-fault collisions after implementing cellphone blocking technology.
Amerisure works with LifeSaver
to offer policyholders access to a cellphone blocking mobile application, which restricts drivers’ cellphone usage, monitors drivers’ attempts to access devices and audibly warns of risky behavior while the vehicle is in motion.
Cellphone blocking technology is an effective, low-cost solution to distracted driving. Behavior modification is immediate due to the prevention of cellphone usage.
Take the next step to improve employee safety, protect your company’s assets and reduce claims. Talk to an Amerisure agency today.