Distracted Driving: An Epidemic Even in the Business World

Distracted driving is common in an era of smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices that cause drivers to take their eyes off the road. It takes a second of distraction to lead to an accident, and drivers often have their eyes off the road for much longer than a second.

It’s a hazard, and there are many causes of distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Causes

Distracted driving is a serious problem and knowing the causes will help businesses lower the risk of their employees being involved in a distracted driving accident.

“A recent study found that 88% of people use their phones while operating motor vehicles,” writes http://sigurdsonlaw.com/. These drivers also include commercial drivers, big rig operators and pedestrians.

Distractions in pedestrian vehicles often include:

  • Kids crying or fighting in the back seat of a vehicle
  • Talking to other passengers
  • Spilling coffee or another drink
  • Eating with food in the driver’s hand
  • Reading while driving

These are all causes of distracted driving, but causes can also stretch to:

  • Using a smartphone while driving
  • Texting while driving
  • Changing the directions on the GPS
  • Changing the radio station

Anything that distracts a driver when driving can cause an accident. Businesses have the option of installing monitoring programs on the smartphones provided to employees. These programs may shut the phone down when in motion, disallow texting and also block phone calls.

The reason for adding these apps or blocking software to a phone, is that it provides a higher level of protection to the driver, pedestrian and business owner.

DMV.org has a long list of apps available that can be used for family members, kids and workers. The goal is to try and prevent the driver from engaging in activity that may distract the driver from the road.

Laws are even being implemented that attempt to ban drivers from using their cellular devices while on the road.

But as any driver can see when they’re on the road, everyone is driving and using their smart devices. It’s not uncommon for drivers to be seen texting or talking any time you look at a car next to you.

Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean that it’s right.

In fact, texting and driving has been banned in 39 states and is enforced. The problem is that even with enforcement, police officers and drivers aren’t adhering to the laws strictly. Bluetooth headsets can help when it comes to voice calls but texting is still a major problem.

Types of Distracted Driving

Driving distracted comes in three main forms. The forms of distracted driving that you may be most familiar with are:

  1. Visual. Visual distractions are common, and this is when you take your eyes off the road. Drivers that want to avoid visual distractions are encouraged to keep their eyes on the road, pull over when reading directions and to put their phone on “do not disturb” when driving.
  2. Cognitive. The cognitive distractions that drivers suffer from are many, and one that is easily overlooked is emotional driving. A driver that lets emotions get in their way is going to have a difficult time paying attention to the road. A fight with a significant other, for example, is a form of cognitive distraction that may lead to an accident.
  3. Manual. The manual distraction is one that is doing something while driving. For example, a person may be manually distracted when they’re reaching for a bottle while driving, adjusting the radio or reaching into the backseat.

Distracted driving can be curbed by identifying and then correcting any of the three behaviors above. It takes time and effort to identify potential distracted driving situations for businesses, but it’s worth the time and effort.

Protocols can also be put in place that will help drivers overcome these distractions.

Businesses can have protocols that employees are made aware of that dictate the proper way to handle situations, such as what to do when calling dispatch or proper smartphone usage when driving.

Knowing what to do and what rules and procedures to follow when on the road is half the battle for many drivers.

Stay calm, pull over, know where dials and adjustments are in a vehicle, and don’t be afraid to ask passengers to make adjustments when driving.