Employee Driving While Distracted

If you run a business that relies on vehicles driven by employees, distracted driving poses a real threat to your people and your business. Talking on cell phones, reading and sending text messages, and programming GPS units while behind the wheel of a moving car or truck can lead to a serious accident.

Business drivers are often subject to worse risks than the general driving population. Many commercial vehicles (such as vans and box trucks) have worse driver visibility than cars, and are harder to control or slow down in the event of an emergency. The same is true for vehicles that pull trailers. The addition of a utility or other trailer will also increase stopping distance and complicate any emergency maneuvers contemplated by your driver.

What you can do to prevent employee distracted driving

Driver distraction is dangerous in the best driving conditions. But when you add traffic, bad weather and workday stress, it's a recipe for disaster. As a business owner, it's important for you to remind employees to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. 

To safeguard your business against the risks caused by distracted driving, follow these tips:

  • Develop, communicate and consistently enforce driving policies to minimize potential for distraction from multiple sources or activities. Cell phones, navigation devices and other distractions can contribute to an accident. 
  • Confirm that other company policies do not contradict safe driving policies.
  • Use free service provider apps to detect when drivers are moving. The app automatically responds on behalf of the driver by sending a standard response asking for patience while the driver is unavailable and will return the call or text when he/she is no longer driving.
  • If your operation has critical needs to reach drivers for emergency dispatch calls or other unavoidable conversations, consider ways to minimize risk. Direct drivers to find the nearest, safe parking area where they can use technology safely.
  • Educate drivers about risks and potential consequences of driving while distracted. Distraction may come from many sources and can present in different ways: taking eyes off the road (visual distraction); taking hands off the wheel to reach for or hold something (manual distraction); day dreaming, talking to a passenger, or other preoccupations (cognitive distraction).
  • Educate part-time or casual drivers who operate personal vehicles on your behalf on the importance of safe driving.
For more about distracted driving, view Distracted Driving: from Policy to Process.
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