CAR crashes, while on duty, often result in plenty of pain and suffering – either through injuries or loss, for those involved and their families.
And these are often caused by many factors, including distracted driving.
Eugene Herbert, CEO of MasterDrive, said internationally, this was a topic for great discussion last month as it was Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
“Even with policies against distracted driving and a company culture that forbids it, don’t mistakenly believe you are not affected. In fact, distracted driving is a leading cause in fatal accidents involving high speeds and in pedestrian or cyclist collisions.”
He added that distracted driving came in many forms.
“The most obvious is texting or talking on the phone. But things such as daydreaming, eating and drinking, as well as talking to passengers, also contribute to it. If you don’t already have policies against driving while distracted (DWD), this should be your first priority. As part of human nature, employees will break the rules and there’s seldom no way to know this until it’s too late,” said Herbert.
Therefore, policies needed to include technology that made it near impossible for drivers to use their phones.
“As for other forms of distracted driving, it’s essential to have continual awareness campaigns on DWD and have firm consequences should an employee be caught breaking this rule.”
Another factor was impaired driving, that internationally was one of the top five causes of accidents within workplaces.
“Remember that impaired driving does not only present itself in drunken driving, but also in the form of illicit drug use and, possibly more concerning, in using over-the-counter or prescription drugs. This makes it infinitely more difficult to manage,” said Herbert.
He added that if you had drivers who were drinking, using prescription medication or that for colds and flu, you were putting drivers behind the wheel who had reduced reaction times and impaired decision making.
“They are also at higher risk of falling asleep while driving,” he said.
The first step in preventing this was in education because many drivers would not associate impaired driving with something as seemingly simple as flu medication.
“As for those who aware of the full spectrum of impaired driving, employers must include policies that address drug testing in employment contracts. This should be a zero-tolerance policy. If caught consuming a substance that will impair driving, the highest action needs to be taken against this individual. Do not forget to have a policy requiring employees to inform managers when they are on medication that can impair their ability to drive,” he said.
Additionally, a hard reality to face about accidents was that many of them were preventable.
“Address some of the most common causes of crashes in an organisation to take the first step to reduce that which should have been avoided altogether,” added Herbert.