Most commercial operators are aware of the fact that distractions while driving lead to an increased accident rate. Additionally, the consequences of an accident are understood by most transportation professionals. But many commercial operators forget the challenges and potentially high costs associated with distracted driving, including fines, penalties, and contribution to accident rate. With the numerous recent increases in local, state, and federal penalties for distracted driving, the benefits are more concrete and tangible than ever before. Avoiding accidents, as well as large fines and court appearances, may mean redefining what operators consider distracting. These distractions include:
- Eating – requires operators to remove one hand from the wheel, and usually to make eye contact with the food, shifting visual focus away from the road.
- Drinking – requires operators to remove one hand from the wheel. Additionally, beverages can be hotter or colder than expected, or spill, any of which can cause significant distraction.
- Navigation System – adjusting navigational information can draw one’s attention away from the road for far too long – pull over to make changes to your navigation.
- Radio – audio entertainment and/or nonessential communications should be minimized, so as to maintain focus on the roadway conditions, traffic, etc.
- Texting – highly visually distracting, and now carries heavy fines and penalties in many states, including mandatory court appearance.
- Cell Phones – talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device means one hand off the wheel and/or the abnormal positioning of other body parts (chin on shoulder, knee on wheel, etc) which can lead to significant and unnecessary risk.
To learn more about driver distractions, associated penalties, and improving your fleet safety practices, contact us.