According to the National Safety Council, the cause of one in four car crashes is distracted driving, specifically texting and driving. How often do you find yourself checking your phone while driving? Just glancing down for a few seconds is long enough for your car to travel the length of a football field.
It may not seem like a big deal to read an email or answer a text while driving, but the repercussions of an accident can be severe. While texting and driving may seem like an obvious cause of distraction, the list is limitless. Texting while driving is not the only cause of driver distraction.
Causes of distracted driving:
- Cell phones: texts, emails, calls, social media
- Applying Makeup
These all seem relatively harmless until you realize that when you take your eyes off the road for a second you run the risk of drifting into another lane, rear-ending the car in front of you at a light, or even hitting a pedestrian.
While these are all common driver distractions, texting while driving is by far the worst.
Why is texting while driving the most dangerous form of distracted driving?
Texting while driving combines all three types of distraction taking the driver’s attention off of the road entirely. Driving requires complete focus to avoid hitting other vehicles and pedestrians, drifting out of a lane, and speeding.
When a driver turns their attention from the road to their phone they are putting everyone around them in danger.
3 Types of distractions:
Texting while driving combines the three main types of distraction. This means that your full attention is taken off the road and placed onto your phone.
Rather than glancing to your right to change the radio station or quickly picking up a cup of coffee, you take your eyes off the road to look down at your phone and read a text message or email. Then, you take one or even two hands off the steering wheel to respond to that message.
In that time span you have taken your eyes off the road (visual), taken your hands off the wheel (manual), and taken your mind off driving (cognitive). That is a long time to take your attention away from driving.
Impact of texting while driving
Distracted driving can lead to speeding, drifting in and out of lanes, and hard braking at lights or in traffic.
All driving behaviors that can cause:
- Collisions: injuries, vehicle damage
- Vehicle downtime: wear and tear, accidents
- Tickets: distracted driving, speeding, etc.
- Insurance premium increases
Commercial drivers are distracted on the road too.
The repercussions of texting and driving are enormous for the average person, but what about commercial drivers? A commercial driver is likely to be driving a much larger truck than an average driver. Large commercial vehicles can cause a lot more damage and injury in a collision than normal cars.
It is especially important that fleet drivers are aware of the dangers of distracted driving. They should avoid using cell phones to communicate with friends, family, and even their dispatchers.
While it may be challenging to keep in contact with dispatchers, there are solutions that can help. Fleet management software offers communication devices that allow drivers to stay in contact with dispatchers to receive route updates and alerts.
Distracted Driving Prevention
- Plan routes ahead of time
- Leave cell phone on ‘Do not disturb’
- Eat, drink, and prepare for the drive ahead of time
For the average driver, planning a route ahead of time is easy. But for a commercial drivers whose route may change as their dispatcher adds or subtracts stops along the way, planning ahead of time can be difficult. With the right fleet management software safe, focused driving becomes easier.
Fleet Safety Management Software
As technology advances, the necessity for a driver to check his or her phone decreases. The cost of reading or answering a text is too great for a driver, company, and other commuters on the road.
Use driver scorecards to review historical data and insights into an individual driver behavior. Scoring drivers based on these behaviors can improve their awareness of their unsafe driving habits. These valuable insights can be used to develop training programs that are catered to their specific needs.
Solving the problem of distracted commercial drivers to improve fleet safety is not easy, but with fleet safety management software it is possible.
Learn more about distracted driving solutions in our new blog post.
If you enjoyed this piece, click the “Recommend” button below. For more articles on driver safety and other aspects of fleet management, follow our Vehicle Tracking Solutions page, or our company blog and social media pages: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.