It is well known that drivers who are distracted are dangerous and can cause serious accidents. When managing a fleet, your drivers can be driving for hours at a time, which means they can lose concentration.
To keep your drivers and other road users safe fleet insurance brokers, Bluedrop Services, have outlined strategies and policies in place to prevent them from being distracted.
4 Types of distractions to look out for
1. Visual distractions
Anything obstructing your driver’s view can be a distraction. Keep windows, mirrors and reversing cameras clear so the driver can see where they are going. Visual distractions can include texting or changing music on their phone (not only is it illegal, but it’s also very dangerous), broken wing mirrors and anything hanging in front of the windscreen.
2. Physical distraction
A physical distraction will be something else that has caught the driver’s attention. A physical distraction could be eating, using their mobile, drinking and generally putting their attention on something else rather than focusing on the road.
3. Mental distraction (auto-pilot)
Sometimes drivers can zone out, especially if driving on motorways which tends to be at consistent speeds. However, zoning out and not focusing on driving can cause your driver to feel tired, daydream and not keep a lookout for any obstructions in the road.
Audio can also be a distraction; this includes hands-free conversations as well as loud music.
How to reduce distracted driving
There are many ways to reduce distractions while driving. Here are a few suggestions:
Keep all mirrors and windows clear of obstruction
Before your fleet team drives any vehicle, make sure that the windscreen is clean and clear of any obstructions. This includes dirt on the windscreen, anything hanging from the central mirror and any damages to the side mirrors.
No phones policy
Using a mobile phone while driving is an illegal offence. Although most drivers should be aware that this is illegal, it should be included in your driver’s safety policy. Your drivers must understand the consequences of their actions if they do use a mobile phone while driving. The safest solution for them is to wait until it is safe to pull over – or go to a service station – and make any phone calls or send messages then.
Not even a completely hands-free system that is voice-controlled is safe. Your drivers shouldn’t need to touch any buttons while driving unless it’s to control their vehicle.
Exhaustion is one of the biggest causes of distracted driving and is very dangerous. Most fleets now use telematics or tachographs (a legal requirement or vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes) to track driver hours to ensure their drivers are getting their legally required breaks. Keeping track of driver hours and breaks is extremely important in preventing exhaustion.
No eating/drinking while driving
Your drivers should only be eating and drinking while parked up in a safe place when on one of their regular breaks. However, there are occasions where your driver may be caught up in traffic, in these instances they must keep a bottle of water to hand in case of situations like these to prevent dehydration. Your drivers should feel safe and comfortable while driving.
Have a strict drivers safety policy
You need to make it clear to your drivers what is and isn’t expected of them, especially when it comes to their safety. Your safety policy should be a work in progress and kept update to date with any new advancements. As well as a drivers safety policy book, drivers need regular training and assessments on how to drive a vehicle safely. Training covers various ways to avoid being distracted while driving.
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Track driver behaviour using tachographs
Most fleet vehicles come with tachographs or telematics systems built-in that track your users driving behaviour. It records their stopping time, their speed and distance. Tachographs provide valuable information on how safe your drivers are driving and helps to highlight anyone who requires additional training on best driving behaviours.
Focusing on your driver’s safety and improving driving behaviour should be the number one priority. And in doing so, you will notice that your repair costs will go down, your fleet insurance costs will go down, and you will have more productive and happier drivers. Review your fleet safety policy regularly and look for new risks in your fleet that are yet to be covered.