(Article from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) newsletter)
Statistics show that driver distraction is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents.
Crashes can happen almost instantly. Taking your eyes off the road for even just two seconds doubles your risk of being in a collision. At a speed of 60km/hr that means you have travelled over 30 metres without looking at the road in front of you. Even checking a text message for 5 seconds at highway speed means you will have likely traveled the length of a football field without looking at the road.
Here are some tips for employers and workers to help avoid driver distraction:
- Educate workers on the risks of distracted driving.
- Instruct workers to have a voicemail message that indicates they are driving and cannot respond to calls.
Ensure work schedules are established that allow employees to focus on driving and not their phones while operating a vehicle.
- Avoid using the phone or device.
- Have a voice mail option and allow it to pick up messages. Tell your caller you will phone them back after you have parked.
- Pull over to a safe location to make or take a call. Pull out of the flow of traffic especially when on a major highway (do not stop on the shoulder).
- Use a hands free device when using the phone (e.g., voice activation, single touch) but remember the activation process and conversation itself is still a distraction.
Pause conversations if driving conditions become hazardous (e.g., rain, snow, construction, heavy traffic).
- Driving – Using Cellular Telephones and Other Devices fact sheet, CCOHS
- Distracted Driving, Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)
- Safe Driving – It’s Your Call, Canada Safety Council