October is Distracted Driving Awareness month. Distracted driving is anything that diverts a drivers attention from driving. Some distractions may include talking/texting on a cell phone, talking with passengers, adjusting stereo/AC/navigation, and eating or drinking. That is not an exhaustive list but merely some examples of what common distractors are.
There are three types of distractions that can occur to drivers, including manual, visual, and cognitive. A manual distraction is something that removes a driver’s hands from the steering wheel, such as eating or drinking food. A visual distraction is anything that removes a driver’s eyes from the road, such as adjusting the controls on your navigation system. A cognitive distraction is something that takes the operators focus off driving, such as having an animated conversation. Some distractions, such as texting, actually distract you visually, manually, and cognitively making it one of the deadliest distractors. If a car is traveling at 55mph and a person was to send or receive a text which takes an average of 5 seconds, they would have travelled the equivalent length of a football field, blind. Another way to put this is every time you send or receive a text while driving, you are putting the lives of yourself and others into jeopardy.
In 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2841 people lost their lives due to distracted driving, while more than 1,000 people are injured daily due to distracted driving.
For our districts that may have drivers, it is our recommendation that you adopt a comprehensive motor vehicle safety program. This policy would include clear policies, promote safe driving, and ensure vehicles are maintained in a safe condition. Please click here to see some OSHA guidance on creating a comprehensive motor vehicle safety policy.
Also, there are driver training videos available through TargetSolutions, a no-cost benefit to members of GSRMA. Please reach out to our Loss Prevention Department if your district is not currently utilizing TargetSolutions, or if you would like assistance in creating a motor vehicle safety policy