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Distracted Driving Awareness

- April 20, 2019 by Stacey DeVries (View all posts by Stacey)

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017 alone 3,166 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

So, what is distracted driving? It’s driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from the task at hand. Other activities could be eating, drinking, texting, talking on the phone, fiddling with the radio, etc. Basically, anything that would take your attention away from driving. In this day and age, we are often easily distracted, but such distractions can become deadly – especially while driving.

- One in four drivers used a cell phone right before they were involved in a crash. (Chicago Tribune, 2017)

- 1 out of 3 people text while driving. (Driver Knowledge, 2019)

- Sending or reading a text takes your eyes of the road for 5 seconds.  At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. (NHTSA, 2018)

- While the maximum amount of time a driver can safety divert their attention from the road is two seconds, it takes a driver five seconds—on average—to send a text message. (TeenSafe, 2018)

What can be done? Talking on a hand-held cellphone while driving is banned in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Text messaging is also banned for all drivers in 47 states and the District of Columbia. To see a table of each states specific laws regarding restricting cellphone use and texting, click here.

Distracted driving can impact an employer. In fact, employers are being held liable for up to $25 million for employee crashes, even when employees use hands-free devices, according to the NSC.  You can read the white paper here on why employers should care. Also for consideration is the cost to the employer an employee suffers an injury due to a distracted driving crash.  There are many indirect costs associated with a claim that auto insurance and workers’ compensation insurance will not cover.

To help prevent distracted driving at your company:

1. Create a distracted driving policy which may include banning the use of all cell phones regardless of using a hands free device.

2. Conduct distracted driving awareness training. The National Safety Council even provides a free kit that insureds can use with their employees to help reinforce company policies and driving education. It contains fact sheets, ready-made communications to educate employees, and activities to engage employees.  Click here to register for the free kit!

3. Have employees sign a pledge to not drive distracted. Here are two examples: Just Drive and It Can Wait

4. Review John’s blog about reducing your overall driving exposure. The less often someone is on the road, the lower the chances for a accident.

 

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