Distracted Driving Prevention Tips- Philadelphia Insurance Companies

Distracted Driving Prevention Tips for Every Organization

As the dangers of distracted driving continue to plague our highways and cause more injuries and deaths every year, organizations must take steps to ensure their people are driving safely.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving killed 3,522 people in 2021, representing 8.2% of all traffic fatalities and a 12% increase in deaths caused by distracted driving compared to 2020.

Cell phone use, specifically texting, talking, and social media use, is the most common distraction, the NHTSA found, but there are other dangerous actions in which drivers engage that can take their eyes off the road, including adjusting the radio or GPS, applying makeup, and eating and drinking.

Organizations with fleet operations can suffer devastating consequences from distracted driving - not just in lives lost, but also in costs related to health care, vehicle repairs, and insurance. Employers can also be held liable if their employees cause damage or injuries to another party while driving distracted.

Here are some distracted driving prevention tips to help organizations improve workplace driving safety:

Know the Facts

There are three types of driving distractions:

  • Manual: Tasks that require removing one or both hands from the wheel
  • Visual: Tasks that require the driver to look away from the road
  • Cognitive: Tasks that take attention and thoughts away from driving

Cell phone use is the most discussed driving distraction because of its prevalence, but also because it often combines two or even all three types.

Sending or receiving a text message is the most dangerous activity because it can take your hands off the steering wheel, your eyes off the road, and your brain's focus away from driving. According to the NHTSA, taking your eyes off the road for five seconds at 55 mph is like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. The National Security Council (NSC) says 96% of people think texting while driving is dangerous, but unfortunately, 44% are still doing it.

While people generally consider hands-free cell phone use safer while driving, it can be just as distracting. According to the NSC, even when talking hands-free, drivers can miss seeing up to half of what's around them because they are engaged in conversation.

This is because the brain can't complete multiple tasks at the same time and instead switches quickly between tasks. Drivers become cognitively distracted when concentrating on any other task while driving, so activities like talking or texting on the phone should be done only while a vehicle is parked.

To improve workplace driving safety, the NSC recommends organizations adopt policies that ban all cell phone use when operating a vehicle for the organization.

Take Personal Responsibility

Employees within an organization should examine their personal driving habits and eliminate any other common driving distractions, including eating, grooming, or dealing with non-driving functions while behind the wheel.

Drivers should program navigation systems and other electronic systems, finish eating and drinking, and have the vehicle already set for the drive, before even pulling out of a parking spot.

Many smartphones, including Apple devices, have an automatic setting that disables delivering texts and other notifications while the device is connected to the vehicle. In addition, there are a variety of cell phone blocking apps that can be used to curb being distracted by a phone while behind the wheel.

Make Organizational Changes

There are many recommended best practices that organizations should consider to help eliminate distracted driving and improve workplace driving safety, including:

  • Create and enforce a distracted driving prevention program that includes both a written policy for cell phone use while driving and a signed "pledge"
  • Provide distracted driving training that educates employees on local cell phone use laws, as well as the organization's safe driving requirements
  • Use cell phone apps to limit usage while driving
  • Implement cell phone use policies for employees when they are in company vehicles or driving their own vehicles for business purposes
  • Consider driver behavior monitoring technologies, such as PHLY's PHLYTRAC, a telematics solution that is available to all vehicle fleets insured by PHLY. It provides insights into driver behavior, including alerts for hard braking, which can be an indication of distracted driving

Online Distracted Driver Training Course

PHLY offers an online distracted driver training course to help educate people about how they can be safer behind the wheel. Watch the video below for an overview.

This training is available to all PHLY customers through MyPHLY. Follow these steps to access the training:

1. Log in or create an account on PHLY.com/MyPHLY.
2. On the left navigation, click "Training" under "Risk Management Services."
3. Under "MyPHLY Hosted Trainings," click on "Distracted Driver Training."

For additional training modules at no charge, PHLY policyholders can sign up for the SmarterNow learning management system.

If you need assistance, please contact the PHLY Risk Management Services Department at PHLYRMS@phly.com.

Additional Resources:

Additional Safe Driving Blogs:

IMPORTANT NOTICE - The information and suggestions presented by Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company are for your consideration in your loss prevention efforts. They are not intended to be complete or definitive in identifying all hazards associated with your business, preventing workplace accidents, or complying with any safety related, or other, laws or regulations. You are encouraged to alter them to fit the specific hazards of your business and to have your legal counsel review all of your plans and company policies.

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