As a business owner, you trust your employees to do their job well and follow all safety precautions. When it’s the employee’s job to drive for work duties, likeas picking up or dropping off supplies, or driving to different job sites, it is crucial that they remain awake and alert. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 15 people every day are killed as a result of a distracted driver, and 1,200 people are injured in crashes every day from distracted driving. The risks of distracted employee driving not only affect the driver and your company, but other people on the road as well, including pedestrians.
Facts About Distracted Driving
Texting, talking on the phone, talking to others in the car, and adjusting the radio are just a few of the actions that cause distracted driving. Although texting and using a cell phone while driving is now against the law in many states in the US, employees continue to do it and distract themselves while driving. In 2009, over 5,400 people died in car crashed from distracted driving, with 1,000 of those deaths from cell phone use alone. It’s no surprise that 1 in every 3 drivers feel unsafe when they’re on the road because not all other drivers can’t be trusted. Even if the employee is not distracted while driving, they are still at risk of car accidents.
Causes of Distracted Driving
There are a variety of causes of distracted driving, all of which fall under one of three main categories; visual distractions, manual distractions, and cognitive distractions. Visual distractions include taking your eyes off the road, such as en employee that is texting on their cell phone, checking their GPS, or adjusting the radio. Manual distractions happen when you’re doing something that takes your hands from the wheel, such as in the case of answering the phone, eating, or grabbing for something in the seat next to you. Cognitive distractions are those that distract your mind while driving, such as an employee who is overly fatigued or talking on the phone; they may have their eyes on the road and one hand on the wheel, but the act of talking becomes a distraction.
How Employers Can Reduce the Risks of Distracted Employee Driving
There are a variety of ways you can work together with your employees in order to reduce the risks of distracted employee driving, which can save lives among other benefits.
- Policy – Develop a policy at your business that restricts the use of GPS, cell phones, and other things that distract employees while they’re driving. Require the use of Bluetooth devices for cell phones, and if employees need to use a GPS for their driving duties, place it near eye level so the employee isn’t taking their eyes off the road for more than a second or two. Enforce the policy with consequences if a driver is caught doing something that goes against the driving policy.
- Posters – Notify employees of the policies as well as safe driving habits. Keep them notified of safe driving, and the risks of distracted driving. Keep these posters public and visible by all employees, in a place such as a break room where they will be able to have the reminder often.
- Screen Employees – Before you hire an employee for a delivery job or other occupation that requires driving, screen them and check their driving history. Look for a history of speeding or reckless driving, driving under the influence, or vehicle accident reports.
- Driving classes – Enroll all of your employees into commercial driving classes that not only keep them up-to-date on proper use of company vehicles, but also teach them the importance of avoiding driving distractions.
The risks of distracted employee driving can be detrimental both to the health of life of your employees and anyone else involved in the vehicle accidents, but also to your business. Last but not least, when employees are using company vehicles for job duties, the vehicle should be covered by business auto insurance in the case of an accident.