Regardless of whether you’re managing a fleet of drivers or are simply a proponent of vehicular safety, one of the largest challenges you will face is coming up with a way to reduce distracted driving. If the driver is not focused on the road, there’s a higher risk of accidents occurring, which can be dangerous to them, their passengers, and any pedestrians around them.
Minimizing the risk of distracted driving is especially important if you’re an employer who hires drivers. Not only can distracted driving cause accidents that leave you short-staffed, if your drivers are operating company-owned vehicles, you may also be liable for damages. This is why we’re going to introduce you to Some steps you can take to prevent distracted driving.
Create a Cell-Phone Policy
A cell phone policy can help make it clear to employees that you have a zero-tolerance policy regarding employees using phones while driving, especially if they’re driving for work purposes or using a work vehicle.
Your phone policy should not only cover taking phone calls while driving, it should also cover the risks of texting while driving. Texting doubles the risk of drivers getting into car accidents. Ensure that employees are fully aware of this fact, as well as that they should avoid using phone apps while at the wheel.
A critical part of creating a zero-tolerance policy for cell phone usage is creating an environment that understands the challenges faced by commuting employees. Managers must understand that workers will not respond to calls until they have reached their location, and employees must be confident that they will not be reprimanded for not answering phone calls.
Monitor Your Employees
While having a cell phone policy is a good start, it’s also important to monitor your employees to ensure they comply with the policy. One option is to off work-issues smartphones that you will be able to track and include apps designed to help prevent distracted driving.
Another option is to use video monitoring software. This involves more than simply a dashcam. You’ll find that using a GPS with a camera can help you confirm that drivers are focusing on the road, and video captured is recorded, so you can go back and check if you are unable to manage real-time monitoring. Additionally, this software often has added features, including geofencing, speeding and braking alerts, and more, all of which can help boost both safety and efficiency.
Ensure Employees Have Enough Downtime
One of the biggest causes of distracted and unsafe driving is a lack of sleep. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calculates that drivers who sleep less than 4-5 hours a night get into 11.5 times as many accidents as those who sleep at least seven hours a night. The correlation is clear – less sleep means more accidents.
While you cannot monitor employees’ sleep habits, you can raise their chances of getting enough sleep by ensuring that they have enough time away from work. Additionally, if employees have to drive significant distances, create a company policy that requires them to take a break after driving for a few hours. You should also consider creating an allowance should they need to get a motel room for the night while they travel.
Make Sure Drivers Have Enough Breaks
Aside from phone usage and drowsy driving, multitasking is one of the biggest causes of distracted driving. While part of this multitasking can involve mobile phone usage, this isn’t the only type of multitasking that drivers can engage in.
While you may not often think of it as multitasking, eating while driving can be a distractor. By ensuring that your drivers have built-in breaks every few hours, you ensure that they have the time to eat away from the wheel and take time to refresh themselves if necessary.
Create Penalties for Noncompliance
If safe driving policies do not have any consequences, there is a lower chance that your employees will comply with the requirements. However, if they know that noncompliance comes with penalties, they are far more likely to keep your guidelines in mind when they drive.
Such penalties can include financial forfeits, including fines, as well as verbal and written warnings. If a driver is constantly ignoring your guidelines, you may even want to look into laying them off if necessary.
It is essential to keep in mind that no plan to minimize distracted driving among employees can work without ensuring that drivers are educated about the risks of not paying attention to the road. Education should be continuous and ongoing and – if possible – should also take different forms, including meetings, conferences, webinars, handouts, and so on. You can also include it in the employee handbook, so new employees are immediately aware of the policy.
Distracted driving is a danger to both individuals and businesses, and it’s essential that employers take steps to mitigate the risks, both for their own sakes and for that of their employees. By taking steps to ensure that employees don’t have to focus on things other than driving, employers help create safer roads for everyone.