Every day, eight people are killed and hundreds more are injured in distracted driving accidents. Behind these lost lives are devastated families. We all have a responsibility to adopt safe behaviors to avoid accidents, injuries, and loss of life.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so we’re taking this opportunity to share information and tips on the topic. Together we can fight distracted driving.
What is distracted driving?
The moment your eyes leave the road and your attention is drawn to something else, you are distracted. You are then no longer fully focused on driving. Distractions can come from inside and outside the truck cab.
- Sending text messages or emails
- Dialing a phone number
- Talking on the phone or to a passenger
- Eating or drinking
- Using an entertainment or navigation system
- Looking at a building or billboard
When our eyes and attention move away from the road, the risk of a collision increases. We are less alert and our ability to react to critical events diminishes. The graph shows how the use of hand-held electronic devices such as cell phones has increased these past years. Text messaging is one of the behaviors observed among drivers.
7 tips to help you stay focused on the road
Before you drive
1. Check your itinerary and set up your navigation system.
2. If you’re using a headset, make sure it’s properly connected before you leave.
3. Stay focused. What may seem like an obvious tip, makes a big difference in your safety. Don’t let things outside your truck distract you. If you pay attention to your driving, you’ll be aware of the road and cars around you.You’ll be ready to react if something unexpected happens.
4. Don’t text. This is one of the most dangerous distractions. Texting is illegal for commercial vehicle drivers. Never text while driving, even if you are stopped in traffic or at a red light. Don’t read text messages you receive either. You can do so when you are parked in a safe location.
5. Don’t dial a phone number. Trying to make a call will take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel. To keep yourself and others safe, you may want to use a hands-free, voice-activated phone and a headset. The best option however, is to park in a safe location to make your call.
6. Avoid eating and drinking while driving. If you’re feeling hungry, try eating before you drive or stop to take a bite to eat. If you do so while driving, you’ll be distracted. Whether you’re looking through your lunch box or trying to open a package, you’ll need one of two hands that should be on the wheel.
7. Put your cell phone on “do not disturb” mode while driving, keep distractions aside. One way to do this is to put your cell phone in “do not disturb” mode. Some devices have a “car mode” or “drive mode” application that mutes notifications.
Distracted driving in numbers
“Look around and you’ll see distracted drivers everywhere – it’s a safety epidemic,” says Executive Director of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Jonathan Adkins.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents in the United States and Canada.
3,142 people killed
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, distracted driving-related crashes killed 3,142 people and injured 424,000 people in the United States.
71% of heavy vehicle crashes related to distracted driving
A 2009 study found that 71% of heavy vehicle crashes occurred when truck drivers were doing something other than operating their vehicles.
5 seconds = 1 football field
If you’re driving at 55 mph (89 km/h) and you take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds to write a text message, you’ll have traveled the length of a football field without looking at the road.
21% of fatal collisions
According to Transport Canada’s national collision database, distracted driving contributed to about 21% of fatal collisions and 27% of serious injury collisions in 2016.
Focus on safety
Electronic logging devices are used for hours-of-service logging, workflow tracking, navigation, and communication with dispatchers and office staff. Knowing that the use of technology in the cab is critical to the work of commercial drivers, choose a solution that eliminates distractions while driving.
ISAAC’s solution automatically locks out access to features while driving. Only relevant applications, such as navigation or real-time driver coaching, are accessible. Also, our team makes sure that the tablet installation is safe and compliant, meaning it is placed in a fixed mount and in an accessible location that doesn’t obstruct visibility.
Find out how ISAAC can help you fight distracted driving and improve your fleet’s safety.
About the author
Director Compliance, Client Service & Technical Support, ISAAC Instruments
Melanie Simard is Director of Compliance, Client Service & Technical Support at ISAAC. She brings these three groups together to ensure ISAAC clients receive best-in-class service and support, and to demystify all questions relating to regulatory compliance. She is passionate about this last subject, and well attuned to the kind of support ISAAC users need, as she was on that side of the equation before joining ISAAC. With over 20 years in the trucking industry, her field experience as a driver, dispatcher, compliance manager—not to mention an ISAAC user—the trucking DNA she brings to the table is a valuable asset to both ISAAC and its clients.