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Author: Lance Holt

Content Marketing Specialist

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Fleet safety is a major challenge that companies face. According to Automotive Fleet Magazine, the annual accident rate for commercial fleets (aggregating across different industries) has now hit 20%. Fleet drivers are already at a higher risk of getting into accidents based on the fact that they drive at least twice as many miles as non-fleet drivers. Fleet safety issues come from a number of sources, such as poor driver behavior, but the number one cause responsible for increasing the fleet driver accident rate is distracted driving.

Distracted Driving

It’s understandable why fleet drivers get distracted on the road – they are mobile workers who often attempt to multitask. Fleet drivers can get distracted because they are trying to pull up directions to the next job on their phone, trying to complete other responsibilities on the way to their next job, or receiving phone calls and texts from office staff who are frequently reaching out to get location updates for customer ETAs, etc. Unfortunately, they may also get distracted because they are using their cell phones to conduct personal business. Regardless of why fleet drivers are using them, cell phones continue to be the number one cause of distracted driving.

The Cost of Distracted Driving

If you are a company that self-insures your vehicles, which is a common practice, then you are likely paying accident-related costs directly. Fatal and non-fatal accidents alike are costly in many ways. On average, a loss-related accident will cost a company $70,000 per accident. Other costs to consider include property damage incurred, vehicle downtime that leads to the loss of productivity and revenue, as well as any claims made by a third-party.

How to Combat Distracted Driving & Poor Driver Behavior

Both distracted driving and poor driver behavior can be reduced with the use of GPS tracking. Monitoring driver behaviors like speeding, rapid acceleration, and harsh braking allow you to take action and coach drivers to curb reckless driving across your fleet. It’s a best practice to have a driver policy in place that first informs the drivers that they are being monitored by GPS tracking (just like a sales manager reviewing sales calls with sales representatives). Second, it should also lay out the consequences of continued poor driving behavior, as well as the rewards for good driver behavior.

While it may be impossible to completely cut out distracted driving, GPS tracking can truly help mitigate it by cutting down unnecessary communication with the drivers, allowing them to focus on getting to the next job safely. Simply having location information and knowing where drivers are at any given time will also dramatically reduce the possibility of distracting them with a phone call or text.

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