Distracted driving continues to increase ranging from fiddling with the radio to texting. It impacts not only consumers but fleet drivers as well. According to a recent industry report, drivers are 10% more distracted now than they were last year. It increased in every state except Vermont, including the frequency and duration of cell phone usage. Unfortunately not only injuries and property damage occur, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,166 lives in 2017.
The National Safety Council identified some attitudes that contribute to distracted driving.
- 47% of drivers believe it is safe to send a text behind the wheel
- 45% say they feel pressure from employers to check email while driving
- 44% report having crashed in the last three years while commuting or traveling for business
The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction (CITA) reports that while 98 percent of drivers surveyed believe that texting while driving is dangerous, 66 percent admit to doing so. The top distractions, of course, are cell phone usage, eating and drinking, and using a GPS or other map display(s) to navigate. Employees on a tight schedule are tempted to make work calls and grab lunch on the road, and often look up the location of the next stop while in motion. These behaviors, common among fleet drivers who are pressed for time, can lead to accidents.
The Costs of Distracted Driving
These distractions can have serious consequences for your business too. Consider this scenario for a moment. A fleet driver has a hectic morning at home from getting up late or dealing with a broken shower. It translates into urgency to get to work on time or rushing through the morning inspection to reach their first stop of the day on time. They might speed to catch up or be distracted by thinking about the morning’s events. The effect continues to snowball throughout the day, which could cause an accident that takes a vehicle out of action, reflects poorly on your company, or worse. The costs impacting your fleet could include:
• Increased vehicle insurance, even if an incident is minor
• Recovery from an accident
• Regulatory fines, such as from the DOT or state agencies
• Replacement vehicles
• Wear and tear on the vehicle from aggressive driving
• Workers’ Comp
Having a good training program in place with consistent driver behavior review supported with data from IoT technology can help reduce the risk of distracted driving.
How Technology Can Help
Telematics and other technologies can help fleet managers address some behaviors that might indicate distracted driving. The use of on-vehicle cameras both in and out of the cab also provides important information when incidents happen so that the manager can coach the driver. Training should always complement the data that technology provides to fleet managers and operations. Telematics data can reveal trends in vehicle usage and driver behavior. Lastly, in the event that a crash does occur, technology such as CrashBoxx® can alert designated staff instantly to get help on the way faster.
CalAmp is committed to leveraging technology to improve road safety. We joined Together for Safer Roads to advance safer companies and fleets by educating drivers and regulators on best practices for road safety interventions. Our applications and services help enable ways to improve safe driving behaviors. Visit our Commercial Fleet page here to learn how CalAmp iOn™ can help your fleet.