April was ‘Distracted Driving’ month, but the theme is resonating into the month of May.
The effects of events held by various organizations, articles written, and hundreds of thousands of issued citations are signs that distracted driving is a serious issue not to take lightly.
The past and recent rulings in distracted driving lawsuits are a clear sign that companies need to pay more attention to their occupational drivers.
As shown in the most recent Zoomsafer survey, many of them are.
Zoomsafer Distracted Driving Surveys
Zoomsafer has conducted a number of surveys based on distracted driving.
This week they released the May 2012 results for “Measuring Corporate Attitudes about Employee Distracted Driving”.
It is clear from the responses of over 900 professionals that the seriousness of distracted driving is sinking in. Fleet managers are paying attention and creating necessary policies to better protect their assets, both human and automotive.
Cell Phone Policy Implementation
In January 2012, the government passed a ban on cell phone use in the transportation industry while driving. Since then, states and businesses have adopted their own cell phone policies.
When the survey was originally conducted in February of this year, of the non-FMCSA fleets, 57% had a cell phone policy in place and 30% were planning to draft a policy. In the three months since that survey, there has been a three percent increase in non-FMCSA fleets with a cell phone policy and a five percent increase in those planning to draft one.
Fleets regulated by the FMCSA must adhere to stricter transportation guidelines to follow than non-FMCSA regulated fleets do. The first distracted driving survey conducted in 2012 showed 81% of regulated fleets had a cell phone policy in place, while 72% plan to draft one. Just three months later, 85% have now established a cell phone policy, while 63% plan to draft a policy.
From these numbers, it seems many who had plans to draft a cell phone policy have done so since the first distracted driving survey of 2012. It is also clear that businesses have realized how important enforcing those cell phone policies are.
Cell Phone Policy Enforcement
Drafting a cell phone policy is only one step in deterring distracted driving among your employees. Having employees to sign it creates a higher level of liability in making sure they adhere to the cell phone policy.
If an employee violates one of the policies, fleet managers must enforce it for the policy to be successful.
Taking steps to make sure employees understand they will receive a warning or other disciplinary action for violations will help employees to adjust their driving behaviors as necessary.
The most common enforcement method is a written policy signed by all employees and accounts for 79% of those who responded to the May 2012 survey.
Enforcement methods include:
- Supervisor/Peer Reporting
- Post-Crash Discipline
- Random Safety Audit
The May 2012 survey results show that in the first survey, 89% of non-FMCSA fleets established a way to enforce their distracted driving policy. In the second survey, 79% of non-FMCSA fleets are enforcing their policy.
For FMCSA-regulated fleets, 90% enforced their cell phone policy with the first survey, while 88% are showing they are enforcing their policy with the most recent survey.
The drop in the percentage of fleets with an enforcement policy for their cell phone policy is not necessarily a bad thing.
With respect to non-FMCSA fleets, many are now included in the increase in the number of FMCSA-regulated fleets. How does this account for the two percent drop in FMCSA fleets enforcing their cell phone policy? There was a four percent drop in the number of companies who responded to the second survey.
Either way survey numbers clearly show companies are getting the big picture when it comes to distracted driving and the importance in having a cell phone policy.
Companies have learned fleet management systems including the use of GPS tracking software has proven to help reduce instances of distracted driving.