26 02 Distracted Driving: What Fleets Can Do
Distracted driving has become a major risk for each and every user of American highways. It is a factor in thousands of road accidents every year. As technology evolves around devices, the average driver has gotten used to taking their eyes off the road and looking at their phone, messages, radio or games. For professional truck drivers and fleet owners, distracted driving is a real concern.
Distractions Impact Everyone
Driving has been subject to significant change in the last decade as cell phones and sat-nav devices have spread. With the advent of all these devices, the risk of a distracted-related incident is on the rise. A recent large-scale study of three million anonymous drivers found that taking your eyes off the road for two seconds increases the chance of a collision by 20x. At 55 mph, a two-second window is enough time to travel the length of two basketball courts.
Distracted driving encompasses any activity that takes a driver’s attention from the road. It includes a range of activities like eating, drinking, talking or texting on a phone, watching videos, smoking or completing paperwork. Even a conversation with another traveler can be classed as a distraction.
Meanwhile, enforcement officials are cracking down on the habit of distracted driving. Recently Washington State law enforcement ended a grace period for any drivers who were found using electronic devices. Fines start at $136 for drivers who are caught using cell phones, devices or personal gaming systems. While the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott has called for a full ban on texting while driving. As this enforcement gains momentum, other groups are backing calls to eliminate distracted driving. The National Safety Council will run an entire month aimed at drawing attention to it in April.
According to the National Safety Council, distractions are a major cause of fatal road crashes in North America. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says nearly 3,500 lives were lost in 2015 alone. Up to 94% of all crashes are caused by driver error.
The NHTSA offers advice for the essential trio for driving:
- Eyes on the road
- Hands on the wheel
- Mind on driving
Distracted Driving in Trucking
There are over 5.9 million registered CMVs on our highways. It is important that we know the rules and know how best to eliminate distraction from the roads. The Federal Motor Carrier Transport Association (FMCSA) reports that in the case of 80% of crashes or near-crashes, there was some form of distraction in the three-seconds before impact. When truck drivers are distracted, the results can be disastrous. As law enforcement officials continue to make it a priority, fleet managers, drivers, and suppliers must be aware of it and ways of preventing it.
As well as endangering life, there are civil sanctions imposed on distracted driving. These include fines for drivers or disqualification for drivers. Fleets are liable for fines. A driver could face a fine up to $2,750 while a fleet owner is subject to fines up to $11,000. For drivers found in violation, CSA scores can be impacted.
Learn how to help eliminate distracted driving from your truck fleet.
- How drivers can prevent distraction
- How fleets can support drivers in preventing distraction on the road
- How Blue Tree’s technology is designed to eliminate distraction
Download the new e-Book here: Distracted Driving: How Can Fleets Help Truck Drivers?