Distracted driving can come in many forms. Whether it’s using a cell phone, putting on makeup, or eating a breakfast sandwich – it’s all distracting and it’s all dangerous. But there’s a reason that cell phones seem to get all the attention. According to just about all the data available (like this study.. or this one, or even this one) using a cell phone while driving is not only more dangerous than drinking and driving, but it’s also way more common. So what can be done to help end distracted driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that at any given moment at least 10% of drivers are using a cell phone. That amounts to more than 650,000 distracted drivers at any given daylight moment in the United States alone. No wonder cell phones are involved in more than 25% of car crashes, and no wonder companies all over the world are wondering how do they stop their employees from texting and driving?
So What Can You Do?
You’re only one person, working at a company with dozens or maybe even hundreds of employees. You care a lot about road safety and preventing distracted driving, but your boss doesn’t see it as a priority. Whatever the reason, there’s always something you can do to improve driver safety at your company.
In this article, we’re going to cover actionable tasks you can do to help end distracted driving in your company.
1. Complete a Safety Audit
A good place to start is to take a step back and look at your company’s entire culture around safety. Are there regular safety meetings? Are entry level employees fully aware of any relevant safety procedures? Have all employees received WHIMIS training? Is there a process already established for making management aware of safety concerns? The answer to these questions could indicate whether your company already has a good safety culture, or if there’s still room for improvement.
Once you’ve reviewed safety at a high level, it’s time to look specifically at distracted driving. Is there a cell phone policy in place already, and does that policy extend to employees using their phones while driving? If not, find out who the person in charge of safety would be. If there isn’t a designated safety person, talk to the HR manager about implementing a distracted driving policy.
2. Talk to the Drivers
Your drivers are the ones this policy will be affecting. Talk to them to get an understanding for their overall feelings towards using cell phones while driving, and this will also give you an idea of how common the problem is. Explain that the company is only interested in making sure they remain safe throughout their time at work, and that this policy will help to make sure they arrive home safely at the end of each day.
You want to make sure to remain very respectful and to not come off like you’re accusing anybody. This is a safety decision, not disciplinary.
3. Prepare a Distracted Driving Policy
We’ve got you covered on this one. You can download our sample distracted driving policy and put it to work for your company today.
4. Positive Reinforcement
Small rewards & bonuses work. They work because they make the person receiving them feel appreciated, and that has an incredible value for managing employees. Negative reactions, such as disciplinary action, are a lot less effective for two big reasons: first, they’re reactionary. Problems are always best dealt with before they become a problem, and if you are only responding to distracted driving incidents then you’re missing a golden opportunity to prevent it from ever occurring in the first place.
The second reason negative reactions aren’t effective is because it only serves to disengage your employee and make them feel resentful of the policy. The flip side to this would be the proactive approach, where you reward the employee for displaying safe driving habits. This will make the employee feel appreciated, respected, and it will reduce your turnover rate by creating a happier & friendlier work environment.
Conclusion: How to End Distracted Driving In Your Fleet
If distracted driving is a problem at your company, it’s possible to change the culture about it over time. Following the steps outlined here would be a good start, but also make sure to contact us to help you put in place the best proactive distracted driving policy available.
Interested in learning more?