3 Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving at Work

April 22, 2022 | Reskill Your Workforce | 15min read

Did you know that motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of work-related deaths?

And, nearly 40% of motor vehicle accidents are caused by distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Since many distracted driving incidents occur during the workday, employers may be required to shoulder the cost of these accidents. That’s why it is pivotal for employers to provide employees with the information they need to control distractions at the wheel.

Keep Your Employees Safe on the Road

Whether your organization manages a fleet of vehicles or simply wants to keep employees who drive for work safe, implementing a driver safety training program can dramatically reduce the risks faced by your employees while protecting your company’s bottom line.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month — a great time to talk about putting a comprehensive driver safety training program in place at your organization. Here are just a few of Skillsoft’s most popular course titles:

  • Distracted Driving 2.0 teaches employees to recognize the types of distractions that prevent safe driving; identify why mobile devices distract drivers, and control distractions while driving.

Did you know? Texting while driving is the top cause of distracted driving. According to the National Safety Council, it results in a 400% increase in time drivers spend with their eyes off the road.

  • Defensive Driving 2.0 provides simple, effective defensive driving techniques you can use to reduce your chances of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Did you know? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, human error is responsible for 94% of all vehicle crashes.

  • Driving Safely, Driving Smarter specifies concerns to be addressed before and while driving, and teaches drivers to use safe driving techniques to avoid collisions, drive safely in various weather conditions, and respond to specific driving emergencies.

Did you know? The United States Department of Transportation reports that weather-related crashes account for about 16% of all vehicular deaths.

  • Urban Driving helps drivers understand how to safely drive through urban areas, enter and exit traffic, navigate intersections, react to traffic signals, and much more.

Did you know? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 71% of deaths from vehicle crashes in rural areas occurred on roads with speed limits of 55 mph or higher – and only 29% of deaths from vehicle crashes in urban areas occurred on these roads.

  • Defensive Driving: Truck Safety is about being a safe driver, driving a safe vehicle, knowing how to drive your vehicle, taking responsibility for driving carefully in hazardous conditions, and knowing when to take yourself off the road.

Did you know? Of the top 25 deadliest occupations in the United States, truck driving ranks seventh on the list – with truck drivers facing the highest number of fatalities of any job.

  • Safe Backing of Tractor-Trailers provides drivers of tractor-trailers awareness of the hazards, including how backing accidents happen and how to minimize these accidents.

Did you know? Large trucks have large blind spots, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 23% of all fatal large truck incidents involved the vehicle’s rear.

Skillsoft has extended its library of driver safety training to over 25 courses in the United States, alone. And, in 2019, Skillsoft announced a content partnership with Alertdriving to provide additional courses on the dangers of road risk and safeguarding drivers from injuries and fatalities.

Developed by experts, our comprehensive library supporting mission-critical compliance initiatives, coupled with global coverage in more than 30 languages and a dedicated account support team elevate Skillsoft’s course offerings.

Prevent Distracted Driving

So, what is the best way for your employees to reduce collisions, injuries, operating costs, and liability exposure? Below, find three valuable tips that can make a significant impact.

  • Establish a safe driving policy. Ensure that your organization has established a safe driving policy that has been widely communicated to employees. Moreover, ensure that your employees fully understand your organization’s policy, which should include requirements such as:
    • Mandatory seatbelt use by all passengers
    • Not taking calls, reading texts, browsing the web, or using phones while driving
    • Pulling vehicles to a safe location to use phones
    • Avoiding reading maps or programming your GPS while driving
    • Not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Implement a comprehensive training program. For example, one of your safety compliance training goals might be to educate employees on risks associated with distracted driving and help them avoid bad habits.
    Did you know that one of the most distracting activities drivers engage in is talking or texting on a cell phone? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that if you drive 55 mph and take five seconds to send or read a text, you’ve driven the equivalent length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
  • Encourage employees to acknowledge your policies. One crucial way to establish a successful training program is to encourage employee buy-in. Ensure that employees acknowledge your policies as they receive them. Talk to your team about what’s working and the impact that training has made on your numbers.

Remember: If your employees are doing any activity that takes their eyes — or mind — off the road, they are driving distracted. That means they are putting themselves and your organization at risk.

Improving Your Bottom Line

Workplace driver safety training has many benefits – aside from improving the overall health and safety of employees at your organization.

According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), traffic accidents in the United States cost employers $72.2 billion each year, including medical care, liability, lost productivity, and property damage.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the cost of distracted driving for employers:

  • The cost of property damage, each year, for a fleet of 1,000 vehicles averages $1.1 million
  • Average cost of a single fatal crash: $751,382
  • Average cost of a single non-fatal injury crash: $75,176
  • Average cost of a single crash that only causes property damage: $5,483

According to a study by the American Transportation Research Institute, settled cases involving reckless driving were more than 207% more likely to be associated with payments over $600,000. Approximately 50% of all settlement cases in ATRI’s data had payments exceeding $500,000, and the minimum payment for distracted driving cases involving phone use was $410,000.

Insurance rates in the fleet industry have increased by 10-15 percent year-over-year over the past ten years. As a result, organizations with accidents on their policy have experienced even greater expenses.

These numbers add up – but they are preventable expenditures when your organization invests in the online compliance training necessary to educate employees. For example, implementing the right driver training program can reduce the risk of accidents by helping to identify bad habits and introducing good ones.

Other benefits of effective driver training programs include:

  • Increased driver awareness: Training helps drivers become more familiar with potential hazards so they can proactively identify and prevent them
  • Vehicle cost savings: Well-trained drivers are more likely to maintain your company’s vehicles properly, helping to identify problems and maintain timely repairs
  • Reputation enhancement: A commitment to safety – and solid employee driving records – may help to strengthen your organization’s reputation

When is the best time to get your distracted driving program in place? Right now.

Skillsoft’s Transportation: Safe Driving course content covers risk areas such as Negotiating Hazards for Commercial Vehicles, Urban Driving, Driving Safely, Driving Smarter, and more.