Distracted driving isn’t a new problem. In fact, we’re all guilty of throwing caution to the wind by unsafely multitasking while on the road.
In most cases, distracted driving is largely attributed to cell phone use, and rightfully so—one in four accidents are caused by mobile phone distractions. But distracted driving includes anything from eating a meal in the vehicle to checking a voicemail message—or worst of all—sending and receiving texts while driving.
According to Automotive Fleet, driver safety is the third biggest challenge fleet managers face on a daily basis. Beyond the basic need to keep drivers safe, distracted driving poses a huge financial risk.
Poor driving habits translate to increased risk of vehicle accidents, and vehicle accidents translate to out of service rolling assets and more expensive insurance premiums.
These are losses that no fleet can afford.
The everyday reality of the fleet driver
Fleet drivers are busy. Real busy!
On the fleet level, most drivers are covering 25,000 to 50,000 miles every year—and that might actually be a conservative number.
To put this in perspective, average drivers travel anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 miles every year. Think about how often you drive around town running errands on a daily/weekly basis. Fleet drivers travel more than 2x that amount.
If you add in the fact that your drivers have tight, fleet-related deadlines and are often operating and transporting expensive and hazardous equipment, you have a dangerous recipe for laxed driving safety practices.
This reality often lends itself to a more laxed approach to distracted driving.
Distracted driving is dangerous driving
At any given time, there are 660,000 or more drivers on U.S. roadways. In the U.S. alone, there are approximately 2.5 million accidents every year and 1.6 million of those incidents involve a distracted driver.
Translation: well over half of all motor vehicle accidents are due to distracted driving. As a fleet manager, this should be alarming and hopefully encourages regular driver monitoring.
It’s all about what your drivers do when you’re not looking
What your drivers do behind the wheel when you’re not looking can be detrimental to your fleet. For instance, drivers who read and/or write text messages while driving are 23 percent more likely to get into an accident.
If you haven't implemented a distracted driving safety policy or aren't training and monitoring drivers properly, you are dramatically increasing risk for your drivers and the expensive equipment they operate.