Before cell phones, distracted driving might have brought an image of a mom yelling at her children “don’t make me stop this car!,” but today it’s much broader and affecting many drivers every day. It’s talking on the phone, texting, entering addresses for directions, trying to locate that perfect Spotify station. You may think you are only glancing down a few seconds, but studies show it’s takes an average 5-6 seconds, and a car driving 60 mph would cover an entire length of a football field in that time. Just think about that!
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, but efforts to curb distracted driving are ongoing – focusing on ways to change behavior of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness and education. Whether you are driving on the interstate or backing out of your driveway, a lack of focus can be fatal.
When it comes to workplace safety, distracted driving is a big issue. Workers in many industries and occupations spend much time on the road as part of their workdays. One study has shown that compared to other drivers, those who were working were more likely to be in a hurry to reach their destination, be tired or use their cell phone.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Health (CDC), employers should use the following recommendations to prevent distracted driving:
• Ban all phone use while driving a company vehicle – and apply the same rules to use of a company-issued phone while driving a personal vehicle.
• Require workers to pull over in a safe location if they must text, make a call, or look up directions.
• Prepare workers before implementing these policies by communicating:
-How distracted driving puts them at risk of a crash
-That driving requires their full attention while they are on the road
- What they need to do to comply with your company’s policies
- What action you will take if they do not follow these policies
• Consider having workers acknowledge that they have read and understand these policies.
• Provide workers with information to help them talk to their family about distracted driving.
The point is – it’s time to just drive!