distracted driver

Reducing the Risks of Distracted Drivers

Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers. But how does your company manage driver distraction?

According to a recent study conducted by Monash University, Australian drivers are being distracted every 96 seconds (or almost 45% of the time) by something other than driving their vehicle.

When you consider the thousands of hours commercial drivers spend on our roads every year, this statistic is particularly alarming for businesses who rely on their fleet as a primary business function.

To help commercial operators better understand driver distraction, let’s take a look at what causes drivers to become distracted, what risks they pose and how we can work to reduce the level of distraction experienced by our drivers.


Types of distractions

To no surprise, mobile phones are undoubtedly the biggest cause of distraction to Aussie drivers. This includes texting or checking social media and talking on the phone while driving. In addition to these, some of the most common forms of distractions include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting radio settings
  • Reaching for something in the back seat
  • Doing hair or makeup

While these forms of distractions are the most commonly observed, basically anything that causes a driver to take his or her eyes off the road or lose full attention of their driving activity can be described as a distraction.


The dangers of distracted driving

Did you know that taking your eyes of the road for just 4-5 seconds at 100km/h will see you essentially driving blind for the length of a football field? Or that using a mobile phone while driving increases the risk of a crash by up to 4x?

When we consider the dangers of driving distracted, the most devastating outcome is not the collision itself but the potential of fatally or seriously injuring yourself or someone else on the road.

Yet, despite being such a severe outcome, road users often don’t consider this to be a risk of their distracted driving behaviours due to a seemingly small probability of eventuation. Research, however, demonstrates that this is not the case.

According to a study distributed by the NSW Department of Transport, Roads & Maritime Services, as many as 1 in every 10 road fatalities can be attributed to some form of driver distraction and at least 14% of all crashes involve a distracted driver.

In addition to potential physical harm, driver distraction may also result in a number of other adverse situations, including extensive and costly property damage, the increase in insurance premiums and the possibility of damaging your commercial reputation.

Further to this, heavy vehicles often used for commercial purposes can have a considerably worse outcome than a standard vehicle collision due to the size, weight and amount of time it takes for the vehicle to slow down or stop. With the potential for devastating results, it’s absolutely critical that we as a community work to reduce not only driver distraction, but commercial driver distraction in particular.


Tips to reducing driver distraction 

Switching phones to Do Not Disturb

Being the most common form of driver distraction, minimising the temptation to reach for your phone is key to reducing instances of distracted driving. If a driver is unaware of communications coming in, they are more likely to hold of checking their phone until they’ve reached their destination.

Enforce a distracted driving policy

According to Travelers, ¾ companies say they have developed a distracted driving policy yet do not adequately enforce it among their drivers. To ensure drivers comply with your policy, make them aware of the ramifications of noncompliance and provide them with the tools they need to perform their roles safely on the road.

Implement an integrated driver behaviour management system

While it’s quite simple to develop a distracted driving policy, enforcing it can be difficult when your drivers are required to self-manage their behaviours. Unless you’re able to physically monitor them on the road, you have no real way of knowing whether they’re adhering to your guidelines or how their driving habits are effecting your business.

As an alternative to riding along with your drivers, implementing a driver monitoring solution can help you track driver behaviour, retrain undesirable habits and help to promote road safety among your fleet.


Creating safe driving practices with Optix

At Optix, we’re dedicated to helping businesses take a hands-on approach to mitigating driver risk and promoting continual driver training and improvement.

As a holistic solution encompassing state-of-the-art technology and access to driver behaviour experts, our risk management system can help you to better understand driving patterns, signal imminent risks to your drivers and pinpoint areas of operation that require improvement.

Through implementing an Optix solution, our clients have seen a significant reduction in accidents and close calls, improved driver performance, minimised company costs and optimised productivity across their fleets.

When you think about your drivers as the lifeblood of your operation, can you afford not to invest in them?

Chat with our team today on 1800 837 433 to learn more about implementing a comprehensive fleet management solution for your company.

Join hundreds of businesses already using DriveRisk.

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