March 27, 2024

April 2024 is Distracted Driver Awareness Month

April 2024 has been designated as Distracted Driver Awareness Month by the National Safety Council (NSC). This event is intended to raise awareness and promote safe driving practices to decrease the number of on-the-road-related injuries and fatalities. Safety is everyone’s responsibility!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving refers to any activity that may divert a motorist’s attention from the road. There are three main types of distractions that can interfere with drivers’ attentiveness behind the wheel, including:

  • Visual distractions—These distractions involve motorists taking their eyes off the road. Some examples of visual distractions include reading emails or text messages, focusing on vehicle passengers, looking at maps or navigation systems and observing nearby activities (e.g. accidents, traffic stops or roadside attractions) while driving.
  • Manual distractions—Such distractions entail motorists removing their hands from the steering wheel. Some examples of manual distractions include texting, adjusting the radio, programming navigation systems, eating, drinking or performing personal grooming tasks (e.g. applying makeup) while driving.
  • Cognitive distractions—These distractions stem from motorists taking their minds off driving. Primary examples of cognitive distractions include talking on the phone, conversing with vehicle passengers or daydreaming while driving.

Regardless of type, distracted driving is a serious safety hazard that contributes to a significant number of accidents on the road. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that, in 2019, more than 3,100 people were killed and 424,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver — equating to approximately eight deaths and 1,100 injuries per day. Considering these findings, it’s crucial to take steps to prevent distracted driving.

Some tips to prevent distracted driving include:

  • Don’t use your cell phone while behind the wheel. Avoid texting, checking notifications or making calls while driving.
  • Avoid multitasking. When you or your employees are behind the wheel, all attention should be on the road.
  • Plan ahead. Before starting your drive, ensure that everything you need is ready to go. For example, if you need route navigation, ensure that your navigation system is programmed prior to driving.
  • Ensure that you or your employees are well-rested. Fatigue increases the chances of a driver becoming distracted.
  • Pay attention to the road. Focus on the road and be aware of any potential hazards.

For employers, implementation of telematics and dashcam programs can assist in reinforcing safe driving practices and adherence to company policies related to operating motor vehicles. As an added benefit, dashcam footage is often utilized by insurance companies to assist in the claim process when incidents occur.  Employers interested in exploring telematics or dashcams as a solution to supplement their fleet safety program should contact Western Growers Insurance Services to discuss available options.

For more helpful information or workplace safety training, including distracted driver prevention training, please contact Western Growers Insurance Services.

Western Growers Insurance Services is a full-service insurance brokerage offering a suite of insurance products and tailored risk management solutions to agribusiness and related industry members. For more information or assistance, please contact Ken Cooper, Director Risk Strategy for Western Growers Insurance Services, at [email protected].