Every year since it’s inception, Distracted Driving Awareness Month draws much needed attention to the plight of distracted driving. Organizations make it the center piece of their safety efforts and people are reminded once again to stop texting and driving. Videos depicting grisly reenactments of cell phone caused car crashes flash across Youtube channels leaving us gasping and vowing never to drive distracted. But much like an Easter Celebration that comes only once a year we return to our typical driving behaviors reaching for that cellphone on May 1st. As human beings it’s a completely understandable reaction; information flows through our visual cortex stimulating an emotional response to what we see at that instant but rarely does it leave anything impressionable enough to make a difference. The reality is accidents can and do happen three hundred and sixty-five days a year and it only takes one day of distracted driving to cause irreparable damage.
Every Distracted Driving Accident has a Commercial Cost
If your reading this for your own personal well being, then file this away as another reminder to drive distraction free. If you’re a fleet manager, then ensuring your drivers are operating all three hundred and sixty-five days a year distraction free is paramount. Since Executive Order 13513 established a clear message for reducing text messaging while driving, the onus on employers to exceed the standard for all cell phone use has been solidified in more than just the capital. In 2012 a jury in Texas issued a $21-million verdict to Coca Cola after a company driver struck a woman while using a hands-free device. Coca Cola had a cell phone policy that stated employees could only use hands-free devices but the jury felt Coca Cola had not done a good enough job expressing the dangers of talking on a cell phone while driving. While these kind of million dollar lawsuits are rare the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calculated the average cost to employers for a distracted driving related incident to be around $24,000 per incident. In all of these cases the financial stress of a lawsuit or downed vehicle is very real but perhaps the most tragic perspective are the lives lost because a company did not have a distracted driving solution in place. In January of 2010 a mother of two and her grandma were struck from behind at a stoplight by a cable TV driver at 70mph while he was texting on his phone. Both women were killed instantly, leaving a family shattered and a cable company very liable.
Finding a Fleet Management Solution
Companies large and small will continually be targeted for lawsuits so it is essential to do more than write a quick note in the company handbook or show a video during April, companies must establish distraction driving solutions and a safety culture of proactivity. Some of the most important things fleet managers can do to prevent the enormous amounts of liabilities are listed below.
- Establish a COMPREHENSIVE cell phone policy
- Make it a monthly priority to remind drivers of the dangers of distracted driving
- Install a Fleet Management System which caters to distracted driving
The first two can be done internally and will help to stimulate a culture of safety on the road. The last tip goes beyond relying on drivers to follow the set guidelines, rather it actively ensures drivers are within compliance. There are a range of programs that are available but often times they may be expensive, cumbersome, or difficult to install. At FleetMode we believe we have the perfect product specifically targeted at eliminating distracted driving while keeping costs, hardware, and installation to a bare minimum and still delivering the most effective fleet management solution in the industry. To find out more details feel free to give us a call or reach out to us via email. No matter what you do or how you plan on ensuring your fleet is exceeding the standards please help us to make Distracted Driving Awareness Month a yearlong event by informing your drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.