What Your Employees Need To Know About Distracted Driving

What Your Employees Need To Know About Distracted Driving Distracted driving is on the rise, but what can you do as an employer to combat the many dangers presented by it?

If part of your employees’ job involves driving, then checking and validation solutions are key to keep track of who is racking up points, potentially revealing which members of staff need pointers for safe driving. More often than not, the cause of accidents is distraction: either physically or mentally distancing oneself from the immediate situation, so that one fails to react quickly enough to hazards that can arise when least expected. In this post we delve into the problem of distracted driving in the UK, discussing ways to broach the subject with employees who are on the high end of the points scale.

How prevalent is the problem in the UK?

According to road safety charity, Brake, in 2016 (the most recent years for which figures are provided), 397 out of 1445 fatal crashes resulted from a failure to look, as well as other distractions such as using a mobile phone, eating, smoking, or attending to children in the backseat. There are three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive.
Visual distractions can comprise anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road. For instance, a stalled car on the road, an animal walking by, or an interesting site or building can capture our attention, so much so that if a car abruptly stops before us, we can fail to stop. Manual distractions include food, drinks, sunglasses… anything we can reach for that necessitates attention. Finally, cognitive distractions can occur when we daydream.
Talking on the phone can also take our mind elsewhere, disrupting the mindfulness that is necessary for sound driving. Research has shown that in the past few years, texting has become the number one source of distraction because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive skills. Over 30 studies have found that the brain remains distracted by a call even when talking hands-free. The fact is that drivers need to be more aware of the effect of distractions. They need to know, for instance, that losing just four seconds to quickly text a friend can have serious, sometimes grave consequences.

How can distracted driving affect your business

Figures from the DVLA show that in 2016, some 32,980 breaches of vehicle control (via causes such as texting or talking on a mobile phone) caused drivers to shell out £3,298,000 in fines. Indirect expenses (such as the cost of hiring a driver) can also add up considerably for a business. Finally, many employees can fail to carry out their duties (e.g. visiting clients) because if they lose their licence temporarily.

Steps for businesses to take

In addition to relying on professional solutions for identification of risky drivers, employers should develop a safety plan which includes awareness, workshops, and the establishment of a policy that clearly states there will be zero tolerance for distracted driving. Employers should also encourage drivers to use smartphone apps targeted at distracted driving. Apps such as FleetSafer will eliminate all calls, texts, and emails, restoring functionality to your phone as soon as your car stops.
If your employees drive during working hours, consider signing them up for a road safety course, or offering road safety awareness and risk prevention classes at work. Having an employee on sick leave or a destroyed car can seriously dent your finances, but of course, safety should always be the paramount consideration when it comes to driving.
- Guest blog by Jennifer Dawson