Help Reduce the Risks of Mobile Device Distraction
Would you ever agree to drive the length of a football field with your eyes closed? Probably not. And yet, at 55 mph, that’s approximately how far your vehicle will travel while you spend five seconds reading or composing a text message instead of focusing on the road ahead.
Distracted driving is an epidemic that claims the lives of thousands of Americans each year. And while there are various distractions that can occur behind the wheel, there is one type that can be easily eliminated: mobile devices.
The Myth of Multitasking
Safety-minded businesses generally take the necessary step of prohibiting mobile device use while operating machinery, or while in areas where potentially hazardous activities are taking place — and behind the wheel is no exception. Although humans are capable of many amazing things, it is important to consider one simple fact: multitasking does not work.2
The human brain can switch swiftly from task to task, but it can’t focus on more than one task at a time, even though it may appear that way to an outside observer. It is one of the many reasons why mobile device use behind the wheel can have such dire consequences.
Creating a Strong Driving Policy.
Without clear outlines and policies regarding mobile device use for company drivers, there may be a higher risk of ignoring the rules and causing disasters that may have been preventable. The primary reason to ban or restrict the use of mobile devices in company vehicles is for your own protection — and to help stay focused on the main task at hand: driving. A strong driving policy can help to keep you and your coworkers safe, help protect the business, and help to keep the roads safer for everyone.
Review your company’s driving policy and consider the following:
- A strong policy may prohibit company drivers from using mobile devices and other items that cause distractions behind the wheel.
- Where appropriate, this policy may incorporate driver standards and screening for company drivers.
- It will outline expectations across the board for safe usage of company vehicles.
- Consequences may be clarified for failure to follow the company policy.
- It may go beyond the minimum local, state, and federal laws applicable to your business.
Understanding Your Driving Policy
It is important for everyone to be trained, and regularly retrained, on your company’s driving policy and safe driving practices. Work through information in a fresh and memorable way to increase retention when you reinforce the message with your teammates. The driving policy may also detail the consequences of failing to comply with your company’s driving policy consistently.
For Brian Stack, president of Stack Heating, Cooling, & Electric, located in Avon, Ohio, distracted driving has become a daily battle for his company’s drivers. Any type of collision can cause down time and loss of revenue, and above all else, Stack wants to keep his employees safe.
To help with this important message, they utilize their driving policy created from a sample policy from Federated Insurance. “We reinforce that this policy is in place for their safety, and others on the road,” he said, adding that they conduct trainings on the dangers of distracted driving, with plans to explore in-cab technology later this year.
Prevention is Protection
Auto crashes due to mobile device use are not going away, and their financial consequences keep growing, along with the risks to you as employee drivers, and others on the road. Keeping attention on this important topic is key. Read posted signs, and participate in regular safety meetings on the subject — consistently keeping in mind that mobile devices can be a threat to the business you work for, to your own safety, and to the safety of everyone on the road.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Statistics 2019. https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving. Accessed 2/15/22.
- Cleveland Clinic – Health Essentials. 3/10/21. Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials. Accessed 2/16/22.
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