Distracted driving

This story is a familiar one: A lone person is driving along an often-traveled route, confident in their ability to navigate without giving the road their full attention. Their phone, sitting in a cup-holder to their right, vibrates with a notification. The driver picks up the phone. It is a simple text: “What do you want for dinner?” They smile, deciding to look back up before responding. “Why is there a pole in the middle of the road?” they ask themselves …

Distracted driving is the cause behind a multitude of traffic accidents within the United States. 2.5 million people are involved in road accidents annually. With what amounts to over 37,000 deaths a year, it is clear that the roads of America are not as safe as we would like them to be. Of these people involved in yearly accidents, 1.6 million of them are the result of cell phone involvement.

The presence of cell phones in vehicles creates increased opportunities for drivers to be distracted from focusing on the road. As stated in our previous blog post, the optimum speed for drivers to maintain in order to avoid inefficient fuel consumption is 55mph. According to Luke Ameen’s “The 25 Scariest Texting and Driving Accident Statistics,” it takes an average of five seconds to read a text message on your mobile phone. In those five seconds, a driver traveling at 55mph would have traveled the entire length of a football field. That distance, combined with that length of distraction, sets the stage for an accident to occur within a moment’s notice.

While cell phone usage is only one of many distractions drivers face while operating their vehicles, business owners must consider it the primary distraction in today’s age. More businesses are distributing company-issued smartphones in order to strengthen the connection to their remote employees and manage their workforce more efficiently. These same businesses are inadvertently increasing their employees’ likelihood of getting into an accident while operating a company vehicle. This circumstance complicates the matter further in a couple of ways:

  • An employee causing an accident opens the door for you and your business to be held accountable. Should the accident result in any loss of life, the fallout would result in more than just increased insurance premiums for your business.
  • In the event no one is harmed during the incident, the loss of a functioning vehicle is a blow to your workforce. The inability to utilize your resource hinders your efficiency, while the driver more than likely continues to text-and-drive.

Since handheld devices can be distracting while completing work-related tasks, Actsoft provides a solution through the CalAMP LMU-3000, which is compatible with any vehicle that has an OBDII port. An easy and reliable “plug-and-play” option that captures the location, acceleration, and driver data you desire while taking the possible distraction out of the hands of a driver. The CalAmp LMU-2620/2610 is a hard-mounted or “permanently installed” option that constantly monitors vehicle activity and immediately responds to pre-defined threshold conditions. Both are welcomed alternatives to companies who are looking for tracking functionality while keeping drivers eyes on the road. The GPS Lockbox PTT Driving Kit enables drivers to holster, charge, and utilize their mobile devices for push-to-talk communications without keeping them in their hands. When married with the software, it creates a complete system for communication and for hours-of-service compliance.

The National Safety Council has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the organization implores all employers to have a cell phone ban for all drivers. With 64% of the total number of traffic accidents caused by drivers distracted by cell phones, it is in the best interest of employers to discourage the use of cell phones while driving year-round. Curbing the use of cell phones while behind the wheel will not only benefit your workforce and its productivity but also benefit society.

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About the author : Scott Englert