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How to reduce the risk of distracted driving – tips for employers, fleet managers & drivers

Taking steps to reduce the risks of accidents and claims on your fleet insurance is key to managing your fleet costs.  

As an employer or fleet manager, you can provide guidance and training to prevent distracted driving. However, the responsibility for staying safe on the road is ultimately down to the drivers themselves.  

In part 4 of our risk management guide to distracted driving, we’re providing some great tips for both you as an employer of fleet drivers, and for the drivers themselves, to help reduce the risks on the road. 

Drivers who glance away from the road for any reason, even for just a second, risk their own safety as well as that of others. To remain safe on the road, employers and drivers must work together to understand and reduce the risks of distracted driving. 

Let’s take a look at some of the steps you and your drivers can take to prevent distracted driving. 

Tips for employers and fleet managers

  • Develop, communicate and enforce workplace policies to establish distracted driving guidance and minimise its impact
  • Use technology to detect when your drivers on the road. There are apps and fleet management tools that can help prevent distraction, such as preventing incoming calls to a driver when the vehicle is in motion. Reward positive driver behaviour as an incentive for others.
  • Have clear policies in place, including, for example, a directive that drivers must pull off the road and park if they need to use their phone or other electronic device. Make sure these are well communicated
  • Provide refresher training for your drivers on the risks of distracted driving and an understanding of the impact it can have.  
  • Update your company’s handbook with any disciplinary action that will be taken if any unsafe driving behaviour is identified
  • Work with your drivers to plan trips and manage schedules so that they are well rested between journeys. Help to make sure your drivers have a clear understanding of their routes, reducing the reliance on satnav/looking out for directional road signs etc.
     

 Tips for drivers 

  • Keep up to date with the law and your company policies regarding distracted driving. Attend any training or refresher courses provided by your employer
  • Check the settings on your mobile phone to prevent message alerts etc happening whilst you’re driving. There are apps that can recognise when your vehicle is in motion and send a pre-set response
  • Plan your journey. Not only in terms of the route but taking breaks where you can pull off the road and have a rest, snack and catch up on calls/messages. For HGV/PSV drivers this is managed with tachographs, but for car and van drivers, the decision to stop – or not – is down to the individual
  • Get comfortable in your driving space. Make sure items such as sunglasses, a drink (especially if it’s hot) and any other items that you might need are within easy reach – whilst remaining aware of the distraction risk of these items. Having a bag of open sweets for example rather than a bag tucked away in a glove compartment can reduce the risk of being distracted
  • Make sure your phone and satnav are secure and set appropriately for your journey. Some vehicles have voice control function for connected mobiles, reducing the need to touch the phone at all to make or receive a call. If you do need to make a call or re-program your satnav, pull off the road and stop whilst you do so.

Our final part of this series will help you, as an employer or fleet manager, create a distracted driving policy for your team.