According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during daylight hours approximately 481,000 drivers use cell phones while operating vehicles. This dangerous habit has deadly consequences.
The NHTSA reported that:
- In 2016, 3,450 people were killed due to distracted driving
- In 2015, 391,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers
Track Driver Behaviors
One of the best ways to deter distracted driving is to identify individuals who display these dangerous behaviors. Using telematics tools, fleet operations can identify tendencies that can signal a driver is operating a vehicle while using a cell phone or other device. Telematics systems can track bad driving behaviors like sudden accelerating, quick braking, excessive idling, and other tendencies that can signal a driver is operating a vehicle while texting or talking on a phone.
Educate on the Dangers of Distracted Driving
An effective way to prevent distracted driving is to educate drivers on the dangers of using a cell phone while operating a vehicle. Numerous safety agencies offer courses on the dangers of distracted driving. There are also speakers who organizations can bring in to talk about the risks and provide demonstrations of how using a cell phone can impact one’s driving abilities.
Enforce Texting Bans, Safety Policies
To hold drivers accountable for their actions behind the wheel, fleet operations can enforce their own distracted driving policies, as well as remind drivers of federal bans and fines. The federal ban prohibits texting by drivers of commercial vehicles. Violations of this could result in penalties of up to $2,750 for truck or bus drivers.
Individual fleet operations can also create their own policies around distracted driving. Operations can assign – and enforce -- consequences for violations. Knowing they will be held accountable for their actions may help deter drivers from distracted driving.
Most cell phones allow drivers to enable a setting when they are operating a vehicle. This prevents the driver from sending and receiving text messages while they are behind the wheel. The driver can easily change the setting when he or she is out of the vehicle. This mode can also alert those trying to contact the driver that the individual is driving and will respond later.