Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous safety concerns for any worker. In observance of Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April, we’d like to bring some much-needed attention to this issue. According to reports, 16% of all car accidents involved a distracted driver in 2012. In terms of workplace health and safety, addressing the hazards of distracted driving is one of the most clear-cut ways to prevent fatalities. Let’s take a look at a few crucial aspects that you need to know about distracted driving.
What is Distracted Driving?
Experts have identified three major types of distraction for drivers—visual, manual, and cognitive. If you remove your visual attention from the road, this is a distraction. If you take your hands off the wheel to pick up the phone, you are being distracted. Even if you are simply thinking about your to-do list at work or what you’re going to eat for dinner, you are driving distractedly. Any form of distracted driving increases the chances of being involved in a car accident.
Activities to Avoid While Driving
One of the most dangerous activities that people often do while driving is texting. When texting, you are removing your hand from the wheel. Tack on the cognitive distraction that comes from composing and reading messages. Additionally, you are looking at your screen, which takes your eyes off of the road. It’s a triple threat that may lead to driving accidents. However, texting isn’t the only problem. Here are some other distractions:
- Conference calls
- Applying makeup or shaving
- Reading or listening to audiobooks
- Arguing with passengers or drivers around you (road rage)
- Fumbling with the controls on your dashboard, stereo, seat, etc.
Most at Risk by Age
Certain ages are more at risk than others. According to statistics, individuals who are 20 to 29 years old are more at risk of accidents and fatalities due to distracted driving. The second age group that is most at risk are 30 to 39-year-olds. While technology makes drivers feel more comfortable, items such as smartphones, tablets, and Bluetooth devices are making driving more complicated than it seems.
Creating Bans on Distractions
In an effort to prevent distracted driving accidents, federal authorities ban the use of smartphones and texting while behind the wheel. If your city or state does not have a ban against the use of devices while driving, consider following a similar rule at your workplace. Speak with your supervisor regarding the dangers of distracted driving, and recommend that a policy be put in place to ban the use of mobile devices when workers are behind the wheel.
Preventing Distracted Driving
Another great way to reduce the risks of distracted driving is to learn related health and safety regulations through OSHA training. By taking safety training courses, you can be more knowledgeable about how to minimize the hazards of distracted driving and other concerns. Contact OSHAcampus.com, an OSHA-authorized outreach training provider, for more information.