Driving is your profession, your responsibility, your life. You cannot take it lightly. It is vitally important to take the necessary steps to insure safety for both you and the drivers you share the road with. As a fleet driver you are just as prone to fall victim to distracted driving as anyone – perhaps even more so. Driver distractions, such as texting and using mobile navigation, cause 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Professional drivers such as yourself should know the rules better than anyone. On the road for most of their working days, techs must understand that distracted driving can put them out of commission for more than a few hours, will ultimately reflect poorly on the company, and prove costly.
According to a NHTSA study commercial service vehicles and trucks are more prone to distracted driving; texting while operating a complicated maneuver in a fleet vehicle, for example, almost quadruples the chance of a crash or near-crash. Follow these basic protocols to minimize risk during work hours:
It is very essential to reduce cell phone use as it adds risk to the already risky behavior of driving a fleet vehicle. Along with the texting risks, people behind the wheel of fleet vehicles who reach for cell phones on the road and use the dial pad to place calls are 5.9 and 6.7 times more likely to crash or get in a near-crash, respectively. It goes without saying that technology has helped and even improved many driving professions efficiency in the ability to be proactive and engage with customers and dispatch, but use of said technology must be regulated and not abused. It all must be completed within safe parameters.
If you work with more paperwork than technology, you are not in the clear. Fleet drivers have been known to browse through paperwork while en route. You should manage paperwork tasks before getting behind the wheel or at a rest stop.
Also, schedule your lunch or eating breaks more efficiently. Fleet drivers commonly eat between one service stop and the next. If you are running late do NOT succumb to enjoying your scrumptious meal behind the wheel and on the road.
A number of accidents have also occurred due to smoking which can also be a dangerous hazard. You may drop your lighter or take your eyes off of the road to light up or deal with falling ashes.
Heed the advice of your managers and follow every safety protocol. It may just end up saving your life.