Now that we’re in the middle of Distracted Driver Awareness Month, we have a question for all you fleet operators out there: How confident are you that your drivers are abiding by safe driving practices every time they’re behind the wheel?
According to a recent survey conducted by the National Safety Council, the answer to that question may not exactly be what you would hope for. While it does account for a majority of drivers, just 62 percent responded that they are “very willing” to obey local laws regarding cell phone use while driving. That leaves 38 percent that don’t necessarily feel compelled to do so.
What’s one of the leading reasons so many drivers continue to skirt the law and use their phones while driving? Nearly half of the survey respondents (46 percent) said that “demands or pressure from work” are the reason they can’t help from glancing at or, worse, reading and responding to emails while on the road. This is alarming, particularly knowing that nearly all of the responding drivers (81 percent) said that they’ve witnessed drivers nearly crashing due to distracted driving.
How can you, as a fleet operator, encourage your drivers to be safe when they’re on the road?
We’ve discussed before the importance of establishing driver expectations to maximize their safety. It’s essential for them to adhere to these rules, but also for you to create an environment that nurtures this type of behavior. When drivers are on the road, you should not just discourage them from sending messages, but actively hold them accountable if they do.
One simple way to do this is through the implementation of our employee- and fleet-tracking solution. With Encore, it’s easy to determine if a driver was en route between job sites when their messages were sent or if they had safely arrived. This is a simple way to help coach and show them that, not only is it unnecessary to respond while driving, it’s unacceptable.
Knowing their near real-time statuses can also let administrators opt to refrain from sending out messages until after they’ve finished driving, so as not to tempt drivers who may feel pressured to respond immediately, particularly to messages that aren’t urgent.
We’ve also previously discussed other third-party apps that you can require drivers to install on their company-assigned mobile devices. These apps help to limit functionality whenever a person is in a moving vehicle and, according to the same survey, 57 percent of drivers responded that they would not attempt to disable such features on their phone, adding yet another layer of protection to them and those around them.
It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to help your drivers maintain safer habits while on the road. With just a few easy-to-implement changes, we can help you and your drivers stay safe out there.
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