Reducing the Risk of Distracted Driving

Virtually everyone has seen "that car" while driving - the one that drifts aimlessly or jerks erratically across the road, or the one that does not move with the flow of traffic, or perhaps the car that proceeds unexpectedly at intersections. In many cases, these scenarios and others can be chalked up to distracted driving. Why do people drive distractedly? Commonly, they feel that it is not a big deal and that they are skilled enough to multi-task safely. Those are false assumptions. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), simply listening to a phone decreases your brain's processing of moving images by 33%. The NSC also estimates that 25% of all vehicle crashes involve cell phone usage.

Fitness Insurance wants to help everyone be safer behind the wheel with these three steps:

1. Learn the facts
There are three types of distraction: manual (taking your hands off the steering wheel), visual (taking your eyes of the road), and cognitive (not focusing on driving). These types of distraction can lead to inattentive blindness, when a driver fails to see and process their driving environment. Cell phones can cause all three types of distraction. In fact, a study from the University of Utah showed the reaction time of a driver using a cell phone is slower than that of someone legally drunk with a .08 blood alcohol level.

2. Take personal responsibility
While cell phones are commonly the focus of distracted driving, Fitness Insurance recommends that you examine your driving habits and eliminate all distractions, including eating, grooming, or dealing with non-driving functions, while behind the wheel. .

3. Advocate for change in your workplace
Regardless of your role, everyone can take steps to positively affect how our organizations address distracted driving. Fitness Insurance recommends the following best practices:

  • Create and enforce a policy for cell phone use while driving
  • Train employees on local cell phone use laws and how they can best handle cell phone distractions while driving
  • Use cell phone apps to limit usage while driving
  • Apply cell phone use policies whether employees are in their own vehicles or company owned vehicles while driving for business purposes

According to the NSC, vehicle crashes are the number one cause of workplace deaths - more than the number two and number three cause combined. Don't let a distracted drive be the last drive you take.