When we look at issues like driver distractions and the relationship to accident rate, it’s important to take a look at what we mean by distracted driving so that we can tackle these concerns head-on.
We’ll take a deep dive into what counts as distracted driving, some of the statistics available on accident rates and the probability of accidents as associated with specific distractions. Then, we’re going to look at what we as fleet managers can do to help drivers stay safer on the road and reward them for their dedicated service.
Here are some examples of distracted driving:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Texting while driving
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Smoking while driving
- Adjusting vehicle controls (CB radio, temperature controls, navigation system, etc.)
- Tired driving
Distracted Driving Statistics
The danger of distractions while driving is a topic that can often seem like it’s just another statistic. Truth be told, without the numbers to back up these claims we might never take them seriously enough for change.
One of the most effective ways to raise awareness and get employees to reduce these behaviors is by educating everyone about these powerful (and alarming) statistics we collected from the NHTSA and the FMCSA:
Companies pay an average of $200K per auto incident and $3.6M per fatality for medium and heavy truck collisions.
In commercial vehicle fleets, distraction is the second leading driver-related cause of fatal truck crashes.
Cell phone use was reported as the distraction in 14% of all fatal distraction-affected crashes in 2017.
Texting without looking at the road for 5 seconds while traveling at a speed of 55 mph is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
Statistics like these make it plain that driver education and accountability around distracted driving is one area where we can’t afford to gloss over the details when lives are on the line.
Creating a Safety Code of Conduct
Since we know what counts as distracted driving and we know what other behaviors are high-risk for accidents like speeding and hard braking, we can work with our drivers on a safety code of conduct that keeps our roads safer.
Making sure that drivers actually understand the policies and procedures in place takes more work than sending them an email, posting a list in the break room or having them watch a safety video once. Ongoing driver coaching is one of the keys to better driving and improved communication between fleet employees.
Driver Incentives and Scorecards
Thanks to telematics systems, driver scorecards are easy to implement and can help you monitor and log events like:
- Rapid acceleration
- Hard braking
- Sudden stops
- Hard turns
- Safety events
Driver scorecards aren’t just one-sided in favor of correcting high-risk behavior. They can also be a way to reward safe drivers and get drivers on board with your safety code.
In Vehicle Monitoring Systems (IVMS) for Accident Reduction and Accountability
Dash cams and telematics in your fleet vehicles can help in several ways. When it comes to driver accountability, driver facing cameras are a straightforward way to monitor driver activity and have a record of what’s going on with your fleet assets. These systems can also alert drivers and help avoid accidents should an issue arise. In a situation where an accident does occur, having the video evidence of what was going on in and around the vehicle at the time of the incident is very valuable.
Does doing all this work actually reduce truck and van accidents?
One GPS Trackit customer, Peter G., is seeing impactful results:
“I had a choice between fleet tracking software and I was introduced to Fleet Manager by GPS Trackit by a friend of mine who runs a business where he has a small fleet of vehicles. I decided to give it a try and I felt that I was given total control over knowing where my vehicles were, what they were doing along with fuel consumption which in turn saved me some money.”
“Since the installation of this program, accidents have been cut down drastically since the drivers know that the management is monitoring them via fleet manager and I know at the end of the day I safely know where my vehicles are.”
Managing your fleet and reducing high-risk driver behavior is easy with a fleet management solution like GPS Trackit. If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help you with driver scorecards, GPS tracking and telematics, contact a Fleet Advisor to learn how to get started.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “Distracted Driving in Fatal Crashes, 2017”
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2016”
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration “Unit Costs of Medium and Heavy Truck Crashes”