Don’t drive distracted | Michigan Farm News

Don’t drive distracted

Category: People

by Farm Bureau Insurance

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Commercial drivers who text are 23 percent more likely to be involved in a collision than those who don’t use electronic devices behind the wheel.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involv­ing distracted drivers.

Commercial drivers who text are 23 percent more likely to be involved in a collision than those who don’t use electronic devices behind the wheel. Farm Bureau Insurance is committed to increasing awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and ensuring that you, your business, and employees are safe when operating commercial vehicles.

Do you have a “safe driver” program? One of the best things you can do to protect yourself and your business in terms of distracted driving is create a formal “safe driving” policy for your operation. Give a copy to everyone who operates a vehicle as part of their job. Among other topics, your policy should address seat belt use, adherence to traffic laws, authorized drivers, and distracted driving.

Training: While a formal policy is a foundation, how you implement that policy is also important. Do you train staff on the policy and your expectations? Each year? How many times? A rule of thumb is that someone has to hear something eight times before they remember it.

Create a culture: Embrace what you want to see happen; when it comes to distracted driving and everything else. You’re creating a culture where safety is a priority. While no workplace is perfect, keep an open dialogue with your employees. Develop a culture that meets your compliance requirements.

Lead by example: Whatever policy is on paper only matters if it’s put into practice. Some bosses are a policy’s biggest offender. Do you follow your own rules? If so, your employees are more likely to, as well.

Texting/ban on handheld devices: All states ban the use of handheld devices while operating commercial vehicles.

Your device is a witness: Many drivers may not take such a ban seriously, essentially stating, “Eh, how would anyone know I was texting when I wrecked the vehicle anyway?” Along with other drivers/pedestrians/neighbors, your device can determine if you broke the law.

Here’s how. In the event of an accident, police confiscate your phone/device. Even if it is encrypted, they can determine via a sort of “timestamp” if it was in operation at the time of the accident. If a driver was illegally using the device while driving, the business would be responsible for its financial losses.