Last month was National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and again, its goal was to raise awareness of distracted driving and how dangerous the consequences can be. Paying attention to the road is crucial, especially in the digital age where smartphones and other mobile devices compete for one’s attention.
After all, it only takes a split second to cause an accident that could change someone’s life forever.
At any given moment, there are approximately 660,000 drivers on the road in the U.S. who are talking on a cell phone or texting while driving.
This shockingly high total is even more difficult to understand, considering the obvious dangers that distracted driving can cause.
In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in distraction-affected vehicle crashes, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT). In addition, approximately 421,000 people sustained injuries from crashes that involved a distracted driver.
For fleet companies, distracted driving is another factor that can severely affect their business, aside from excess fuel waste and vehicle abuse. The average work-related motor vehicle injury claim costs about $69,206, according to the National Safety Council, which highlights why fleet companies need to ensure their drivers remain distraction-free.
Looking down at a cell phone may not seem like a big deal for drivers, but research about distracted driving proves contrary. According to Distraction.gov, sending or reading a text diverts your eyes from the road for roughly 5 seconds. And at 55 MPH, that's similar to driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded.
Fleet companies can do their part to ensure the safety of their drivers by enacting a strict no-cell-phone-while-driving policy, but it needs to go far beyond a simple rule.
Fleet managers should lead by example and promote the policy as often as possible to remind drivers that lives are at stake, in addition to teaching the importance of operating a vehicle distraction-free.
Leslie Garcia is an editor at Teletrac Inc. and provides a technical prowess to the editorial team. Her product-focused insight and critical thinking has proven to be an invaluable resource for both the editorial and product development teams. Ms.Garcia is able to transform highly technical language and craft it into engaging articles that move the needle. Find more articles by Leslie Garcia on the Teletrac blog.