April is National Distracted Driving Month

Apr 2018 01 | Posted by liz.smith

Did you know that April has been designated as National Distracted Driving Month? 

Distracted driving is driving while conducting any activity that deters the drivers’ attention from the task of driving the vehicle.  This includes tasks such as talking on a cell phone, sending a text message, using a navigation system, eating, etc.  

According to www.Distraction.Gov, 391,000 people were injured and 3,477 people were killed in distraction related crashes in 2015.  Motor vehicle accidents continue to be the leading cause of work-related fatalities, and cost employers roughly $60 billion annually.  Also, 25% of vehicle crashes involved someone talking on a cell phone. It is estimated that 660,000 drivers use electronic devices while driving during the day.

Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic and proactive steps should be taken to eliminate it. 

Here are 10 Tips for Managing Driver Distraction from The Governor’s Highway Safety Association:

  1. Turn it off and stow it.  Turn your phone off or switch ti to silent mode before you get in the car.  Then stow it away so that it’s out of reach.
  2. Spread the word.  Record a message on your phone that tells callers you’re driving and will get back to them when you’re off the road.
  3. Pull over.  If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe area first.
  4. Use your passengers.  Ask a passenger to make the call or respond to a text for you.
  5. X the Text.  Don’t ever text and drive, surf the web or read your email while driving.  It’s dangerous and against the law in most states.  Even voice-to-text isn’t risk-free.
  6. Know the law.  Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you get in the care.  Some states and localities prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones in addition to texting.  GHSA offers a handy state law chart at:  http://ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html. 
  7. Prepare.  If using navigation or a mapping application on your phone, enter your destination before your start to drive.  If you prefer a map or written directions, review them in advance.  If you need help while driving, ask a passenger to assist your or pull over to a safe location to change your data or review your map/directions.
  8. Secure your pets.  Unsecured pets can be a big distraction in the car.
  9. Mind the kids.  Pull over to a safe place to address situations involving children in the car.
  10. Focus on driving.  Multi-tasking behind the wheel is dangerous.  Refrain from eating, drinking, reading, grooming, smoking and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.

The following are resources to share with your employees:

TargetSolutions: GSRMA’s online training program offers a wide variety of driving-related courses including “Distracted Driving” and “Defensive Driving Strategies." 

http://www.distraction.gov/index.html - Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving
http://www.nsc.org/safety_road/Distracted_Driving/Pages/DDAM.aspx  - National Safety Council Distracted Driving Awareness Month Page.
http://www.focusdriven.org/ - Advocates for Cell-Free Driving.

To learn more about the above resources, please feel free to contact us at lossprevention@gsrma.org.