Distracted driving is the root cause of 87% of accidents on American roads over the past ten years, says Omnitracs, which has collected and analyzed accident data. Distracted driving encompasses a wide variety of incidents, ranging from texting to thinking about marital problems, and not paying attention to the road.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month, so Omnitracs came up with suggestions for fleet managers to help drivers stay focused on driving:
- Mobile technology – Acceptable use of mobile technology, like cell phones, should be carefully considered by managers, then clearly communicated and consistently executed. The most successful implementations for zero tolerance included involving the family of the drivers asking that they support their loved ones by not talking with their drivers while they are behind the wheel. It is also important that dispatchers and other operations people follow the same policy, and not talk with or attempt to contact drivers if they know they are still on the road.
- In-cab technology – A device that is expected to be used while driving should be installed so drivers can see it and the road at the same time. User interfaces, displays and monitors should never block your view of road, mirrors or windows. Ensuring that devices are never installed any lower than other instrumentation in the dashboard of the vehicle allows the driver to quickly check the information from these displays as easily as they can check mirrors or gauges. – Drew Schimelpfenig, Omnitracs Safety Center of Excellence
- Navigation – A navigation solution must help the driver to get to his or her destination in a non-distracting fashion. To this end, it must consider the vehicle's and load's profile while generating safe and easy-to-follow directions. The bottom line is a lost driver is a distracted driver, and a distracted driver is a dangerous driver.
The tips are from Drew Schimelpfenig, from the Omnitracs Safety Center of Excellence and Rick Turek, Omnitracs’ chief navigation scientist.