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Business Solutions Center
Improve Your Employees' Driving Safety; Lower Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving is the top cause of auto accidents in the United States (1). With April being Distracted Driving Awareness Month, this is a good time to discuss what your business is doing to make sure employees who drive are focusing on the road and not on distractions that can lead to both minor and major accidents.
Oftentimes, business vehicles pose an even bigger threat on the road than ordinary vehicles due to their weight/size. If they are pulling trailers, the danger is increased even more, and the threat of distractions can be all the more consequential.
It is vital that you educate employees about the dangers of distracted driving and ensure that they understand that you expect the highest level of focus from them when they are behind the wheel. Have a well-documented safe driving plan that is distributed to everyone who operates a vehicle. Also, make sure your policies are enforced and employees are held accountable when rules are broken. Don't forget to make sure even part-time employees and new hires are up to speed on policies.
You'll also need to ensure that you don't have other company policies that conflict with your own safe driving rules. For example, if employees are required to communicate by phone or operate GPS equipment, be sure your policy explains that they are to do so while the vehicle is not in motion.
Distractions include eating and drinking, talking to a passenger, grooming, reading/adjusting maps or GPS software, watching videos, and adjusting audio. Phones are, by far, the most common source of distraction.
Monitor employee behavior and ensure that drivers are aware of what is prohibited while operating a vehicle.
In many cases, distractions may not come from obviously reckless behavior, but rather from the employee simply trying to do his/her job. For example, a work-related conversation may be the culprit if the person is focused on a particular element of the job rather than concentrating completely on the road and other drivers. What may be considered "multitasking," is really the brain's attention being divided between more than one thing, when really it should be completely focused on driving.
You can train employees to the best of your ability and make sure everyone understands the dangers that come with distracted driving, but accidents may still occur. Be sure your business is covered with Commercial Auto Insurance from Nationwide.
Business auto insurance can protect your business through liability coverage, medical payments, collision, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, coverage for employees using their own cars for business, and coverage for rented/borrowed vehicles that are used for business.
Last year, Nationwide announced a partnership with Lytx to offer its DriveCam safety program for fleet managers of long-haul trucking members. Stay tuned for additional telematics offerings from Nationwide in the near future.