Distracted driving is one of the greatest dangers facing fleets, and all drivers, today. It is a problem that can strike any driver, and it can be fatal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in 2019 alone, 3,142 people were killed by distracted driving. If you take your eyes off of the road for five seconds at 55 miles per hour, you will be blindly driving the length of a football field. It only takes a second for an accident to happen, so fleets need to do everything they can to promote distracted driving safety. Luckily, fleet management software comes with distracted driving systems that can help identify distracted driving behaviors and nip them in the bud before they cause an accident. This article will discuss the dangers of distracted driving and how fleets can combat them.
Types of Distracted Driving
The CDC outlines three types of distracted driving.
- Visual: Visual distractions involve drivers taking their eyes off the road. This may include checking a quick text, looking for something inside the car, or even briefly closing their eyes due to tiredness.
- Manual: A manual distraction occurs whenever drivers take their hands off the wheel. Whenever a driver reaches for something in the back seat, eats or drinks while driving, or fiddles with the music player, these are examples of manual distractions.
- Cognitive: Cognitive distractions are harder to detect. If drivers take their mind off driving, this is still a distraction. This type of distraction is why driving while emotionally distressed is so dangerous.
These distractions are dangerous, and fleets must be aware of them to combat them among their drivers.
Sources of Distraction
Cell Phone Use: Cell phone use is the most common type of distraction these days, and the National Safety Council found that one in every four accidents occurs due to talking or texting on cell phones. Whether people are using their cell phones for communication or navigation, they are a dangerous distraction on the road. However, they’ve become such an integral part of our lives that people don’t even think twice before reaching for them. When we eliminate cell phone use while driving, we take a significant step towards reducing accidents.
Drowsy Driving: Drowsy driving is a particular danger for fleet drivers who spend long hours on the road. Luckily, the ELD mandate and HoS regulations have significantly lowered the risk of drowsy driving, but the problem persists. Driving without sleep can have the same effect on the brain as driving under the influence of alcohol. Going 20 hours without sleep has the same effect on the mind as having a blood-alcohol level of 0.08%. When drivers are tired, they are three times more likely to be in an accident. Therefore, we must limit drowsy driving wherever possible.
Eating While Driving: Eating while driving is another problem that fleet drivers, in particular, are prone to exhibit. Fleet drivers need to know that they are three times more likely to be in an accident if they eat while driving. Even though fast food restaurants make it easy to fall into this trap, drivers must be accountable for this dangerous behavior.
How Fleet Management Software Can Help
Fleet management software comes with features that can prevent distracted driving. Below, we will discuss those features and how they can help your fleet.
AI dashcams can detect all kinds of distracted driving behaviors. Dual-facing dashcams record what’s going on not only on the road but also in the cab. These dashcams can detect behaviors such as:
- Eating and Drinking
- Using a Phone
- Wearing a Mask
- Yawning or Fatigue
- Face not visible
- Eyes Not Focused
- Camera Obstruction
When the camera detects any of these driving events, it will send the video through an AI engine. This system analyzes the video, looks for distraction events, and then tags them to make it easier for fleet managers to determine what caused the distraction.
Furthermore, it will also alert the driver to correct their behavior. If it’s a one-time mistake, they can simply rectify the issue, and the software will not notify the fleet manager at that time. However, if the problem persists, the fleet manager will be notified.
Cell Phone Blocking Technology
As we mentioned, cell phones are the worst offenders when it comes to distractions for any driver. Cell phone blocking technology can prevent unauthorized cell phone use on the road. It can block calls, text messages, and apps. Whenever a user breaks cell phone usage policies, you will receive a report through your fleet management software. This technology takes the temptation out of your drivers’ hands and promotes a safety culture among your fleet.
Invest in Fleet Technology that Keeps Your Fleet Safe
Azuga offers all kinds of technology that will keep your fleet safe. Our AI dashcams manage all of the features mentioned in this article and more, so you can rest assured that your drivers are safe even when you’re not watching. We also offer Azuga DriveSafe, cell phone blocking technology that links with our fleet management software and helps you supplement your existing safety features. You can try a demo of any of our safety features online and see for yourself what we can do.