People get distracted. Sometimes it’s a clever billboard or a person in a costume walking down the street. Sometimes it’s a non-urgent need to use dispatch equipment. They may be reaching for a map or using a cell phone – either talking or texting and driving.
It’s all distracted driving. And it leads to over 25% of truck accidents. A fleet owner, on average, will be out of pocket around $70,000 per event. Some studies show this average even higher. The effects of distracted driving on trucking businesses can be huge. It’s also dangerous, which is why the FMCSA has banned handheld cell phone use for commercial vehicle drivers
Preventing distracted driving is important. But you can’t prevent what you don’t know about.
Here are way 4 ways to know if a driver is getting distracted.
1. Gather the Data
Modern fleet tracking device have technologies that help detect tired or distracted driving without a driver feeling like a fleet manager is looking over their shoulder. While many of these tools don’t track device usage itself, they track the typical outcomes of that behavior.
Make sure you’re using existing equipment to its fullest capability. And when the time to upgrade arises, make sure you can collect this data.
This is the less intrusive way to identify your at-risk drivers before behaviors cause an accident.
2. Know What to Look For
If asked, many drivers feel justified in stating that they aren’t driving while distracted. Most people who get distracted while driving feel okay about doing it. They get complacent because they’ve done it before and nothing happened.
The unpredictable nature of the road is the reason why driving while distracted is so dangerous.
Modern driver behavior tracking devices can track things like:
- Sudden acceleration
- Swerving between lanes
- Driving well below the speed limit
- Anomalies in driving patterns
A single event might simply suggest, for example, a deer ran across the interstate or a passenger car cut too closely in front of the cab. So these tools look for patterns in behavior that suggest that the driver isn’t paying attention to the job they’re being paid to do rather than focusing on a single event.
3. Install Event-Triggered Cameras
Your drivers don’t want to feel like they’re being watched all the time. Most people in any line of work are uncomfortable about that. But distracted driving costs you money. Event-triggered cameras are the agreeable compromise.
The cameras, also often called DRMs (Driver Risk Management Systems), are typically installed on the dash so that they face inward.
Actions like swerving and sudden braking turn the camera on.
It’s not uncommon to get some pushback from drivers regarding these devices. For many drivers, especially long-haul, their cab is their home. This feels like a violation of privacy.
It’s important to respect your drivers. Talk to them about these concerns. Make sure they understand that these cameras are not always on. Triggered cameras do help keep the driver and company safer.
4. Have Open Conversations
Gather the data so that you can have a conversation with a driver that appears to be engaging in distracted driving. Avoid openly accusing a driver of texting, for example. The data indicates that something they’re doing is dangerous. It doesn’t necessarily tell you what the distraction is.
Start a conversation and work to find solutions. Approaching the driver in a non-accusatory way will help you further confirm your suspicions. That’s much better than facing a wall of denial.
For more tips on keeping drivers and your company safe, follow our blog. We can also help you get truck insurance quotes. You can get started with your quotes by filling out our online form or giving us a call today. Our truck insurance experts are here to help!