FLEET SAFETY GOALS FOR 2020: END DISTRACTED DRIVING
Monday, January 6, 2020 By Jasmin Sharp
In 2019, road safety has seen a significant spike in interest and concern across the globe. Individuals, organizations, and governments have all advocated for decreasing road traffic fatalities. The Vision Zero Network reported that a record number of communities organized for the 2019 World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, affirming their commitment to working towards Vision Zero. This year, six different states (AZ, IL, ME, MN, MS, and TN) passed hands-free laws to minimize distracted driving, leading to 21 states + D.C. having hands-free laws currently in effect or soon going into effect. The UK also passed a hands-free law that will go into effect in early 2020. Australia became the first place in the world to start testing traffic cameras and AI to catch distracted drivers. With all of the great strides society has made in 2019 to improve road safety, 2020 is looking like it will be a great year for seeing crashes decrease internationally, and the start of a great decade to make distracted driving obsolete.
As we get ready to move into the new decade, fleet safety should be a concern on every fleet manager’s mind. Not only is proactive fleet safety management the best way to ensure your drivers stay safe, but there are financial benefits as well. A Liberty Mutual survey shows 61% of business executives believe their companies receive an ROI of $3.00 or more for every $1.00 they spent on improving workplace safety, and Motus reports that companies can reduce accident rates for employees by 35% with proactive approaches. Going into 2020, the FMSCA is also introducing a new Beyond Compliance program, based on the 2015 FAST Act. The program is designed “to give credit to motor carriers that install advanced safety equipment, use enhanced driver fitness measures, adopt fleet safety management tools and programs, or satisfy other standards determined appropriate by the FMCSA.”
How do you minimize distracted driving in your fleet? Company policy, education, and technology.
Fleet safety starts with having a strong company cell phone policy and enforcing it. The National Safety Council says that employers open themselves up to massive liability when they do not have a comprehensive cell phone policy in place. Having a policy isn’t enough, it is also important for companies to make sure they are enforcing it. While 75% of companies report having a company-wide distracted driving policy in place, enforcement is inconsistent. A comprehensive distracted driving policy needs to include all employees, all company vehicles, all company devices, and all work-related communications.
However, having a policy isn’t one and done to protect your fleet. An effective safety manager needs to ensure that their fleet is being trained on the policy and safe driving behaviors. Terry Ketchum, a Committee Chair for the American Society of Safety Professionals, says, “training is critical to assessing a new driver, as is continual education for existing drivers.” Fleets always want their drivers to be safe behind the wheel, and that is dependant on a combination of computer-based learning and behind-the-wheel training. Driver safety training that focuses on different topics of fleet safety is necessary, especially when it comes to distracted driving. A Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) survey reports that almost 40% of drivers admit to participating in distracting behaviors while driving for work. This means it is crucial for continual training programs to instill proper behaviors and attitudes in your drivers.
Even with a strong distracted driving policy and regular driver safety training, it is vital that fleets ensure their policies are being enforced. This is where technology solutions become an important part of the fleet safety puzzle. Telematics are a great step that many fleets are already using, but telematics data is all retroactive. To truly decrease distractions, you need to be proactive. The best type of technological solutions are ones that give fleet managers the most control and customizability, while still effectively enforcing policy and decreasing risk and loss. Technologies that remove distractions from drivers’ phones are the most effective at taking safety policy and culture a step farther and eliminating distracted driving. This type of technology is key because it prevents distractions before they occur, rather than trying to course-correct after a crash.
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