Does Driving and Texting at the same time affect your Company Car Drivers?
A NEW survey has revealed that nearly three in 10 drivers (28%) texts at the wheel and one in 13 (8%) do so at least once a week. Additionally, it is claimed, that one in 11 drivers (9%) surfs the web, emails, uses apps or social networking sites when driving.
Texting has been found to make drivers 23 times more likely to cause a crash, potentially killing or maiming innocent road users, while using a phone to email or surf the web also causes serious distractions.
What can be done to change attitudes on this? ABI research states that 7 trillion text messages will be sent from 4.8 billion mobile phones worldwide in 2011 alone. It’s obvious that this is the communication method of choice for many people, but the mindset needs to be changed so that texting while driving, or updating Social Networks is seen as unacceptable.
Automotive Industry Digest goes on to say:
Research into the impact of sending or receiving text messages amongst young drivers found the amount of time drivers spent with their eyes off the road increased by up to 400%. Drivers made 28% more lane excursions and 140% more incorrect lane changes.
Research using a driver simulator to explore risks drivers face when using phones for emailing found a heightened crash risk. In a large-scale study of commercial drivers, which monitored the impact of them texting at the wheel, their crash risk increased to 23 times that of a driver paying full attention.
The phenomenon even affects commercial drivers; these are drivers used to assessing and evaluating risks without even being aware of it.
Policing Company Car Drivers And Fleets
As part of a company’s risk management procedure all drivers should be made aware of the risks of driving whilst texting or on the internet. If your company makes this a disciplinary offence then driving manuals, contracts and training manuals need to be updated to reflect this. Also, is updating a GPS route management system considered in the same vein as texting or internet use?
This is pretty frightening stuff – whether you’re a company car driver or not, to know you’re on the roads with people who are not paying attention to the road is not reassuring. Does your company already have a system in place for this? Do your drivers know they could be disciplined or even lose their job if they use their phones whilst driving? Or do you leave it to the “law”?