How distracted driving can impact your fleet
What is the issue?
Distracted drivers are a problem that fleet managers are faced with up and down the country. Not only do they pose a significant risk to themselves and other road users, but accidents caused by this type of driving can have huge financial implications. From hefty fines to a damaged reputation, it is important for operators to be aware of the dangers of having drivers in their fleet who use their phone, smoke or succumb to any other type of distraction.
Road traffic accidents are one of the most serious consequences of driving while distracted. According to ROSPA, distractions in vehicles contributed to 2563 accidents in 2019 with a further 1078 being caused by distraction outside vehicles which demonstrates the scale of impact this issue is having. Drivers who use their mobile phone are a particular threat to other road users, as texting while driving is six times more likely to result in a road traffic accident than drink-driving.
As van drivers, HGV drivers, company car drivers and shift workers often take long journeys on monotonous roads, driver fatigue is another common problem for fleets. In fact, 40% of all sleep-related accidents involve commercial drivers.
Accidents caused by this type of unsafe driving are entirely preventable and it is both the driver’s and fleet manager’s responsibility to ensure these behaviours are mitigated as much as possible.
Drivers who get distracted behind the wheel also risk facing class substantial fines and penalty points. If a driver is caught holding and using their phone, they can get 6 points on their license or a £200 fine or lose their licence if they passed their driving test in the last 2 years, which can have a significant impact on fleet operations. Fines increase for HGV drivers who face a maximum of £2500 for mobile phone usage while driving.
Another major distraction a driver can be fined for is smoking in a company vehicle, which could see them paying anything up to £200 or £50 in Scotland. Also, if smoking leads to an accident or is paired with consistently bad driving, the driver could even receive a charge of careless driving or not being in a position to control the vehicle.
It’s easy to avoid fines for distracted behaviour by reminding drivers of how important it is to follow these laws and by implementing preventative measures to minimise the risk of this occurring in your fleet.
If a fleet is involved in multiple road traffic accidents, they can gain a negative reputation which could be catastrophic for a business. People may not want to work with a company if their drivers are known to put road users at risk and it appears that little is being done to minimise this.
To maintain a positive image, it’s vital to put steps in place to ensure the drivers in your fleet are not causing accidents through being distracted at the wheel which subsequently keeps the company’s name out of the media for the wrong reasons.
Higher insurance premiumsIn addition to high claim costs due to accidents caused by distracted driving, insurance provides will also charge higher premiums for fleets if they believe their drivers pose a significant risk to others.
Also, Rule 148 of the Highway Code includes smoking as one of number of distractions to be avoided when driving and breaking these road regulations could lead to your cover being invalidated by insurers.
If an insurer can see a fleet manager is taking measures to reduce risks, premiums could decrease as a result.
How can technology help to reduce distracted driving?
- Making sure the drivers in your fleet are not distracted can be very difficult when you are not physically in the vehicle with them. This is where technology such as Driver Distraction AI can prove extremely effective in improving driver behaviour.
This device reduces accidents by identifying distractions such as tiredness, taking a phone call, smoking and more, and alerting the driver in-cab to help them stay focused.
- • Monitors behaviour in real time
• Audible alerts made to the driver
• Preventative measure – stopping accidents before they happen
• Ability to provide fleet managers with real-time, tailored alerts
• Links to reporting tools to evaluate performance
• Helps fleet managers take steps to improve driver safety
Contact us to arrange a free demo of DDAI