March 29, 2022 | Blog

The Business Risks of Distracted Driving

risks of distracted driving

The deskless workforce spends a great deal of time behind the wheel. And the pressure to finish jobs, complete deliveries, or arrive at a job site in a timely manner while also being in contact with their managers and teams opens the door to plenty of distractions on the road. Today, drivers, on the job or not, rely heavily on their mobile devices while navigating to their destinations. While the goal should always be to empower mobile device usage, it should be done in a safe manner, especially when driving. And that there are real impacts to the business above and beyond the obvious ones when a distracted driving accident occurs.

 

Financial Risks of Distracted Driving to Your Business

The business costs from fleet distracted driving accidents to appear across multiple categories:

  1. Vehicle repairs or permanent replacements – This depends on your insurance coverage and, if a vehicle is a total loss, the difference between the value of your vehicle and the price of a new one.
  2. Temporary replacement vehicles – You’ll need to rent a vehicle until repairs are made unless you choose the next category of costs.
  3. Lost business because no vehicle is available – Without the right number of vehicles, you risk missing business opportunities.
  4. Lost business because your employee is injured – Employees are your most valuable asset. If someone is not able to work, then deliveries are not made, services are not performed, or sales are not closed. Your business will be affected until the employee recovers, which could be weeks or months, depending on the severity of the injuries.
  5. Insurance premium increases – When the accident rate goes up, insurance rates will follow. Some businesses have faced situations where insurance carriers decline continued coverage.
  6. Nuclear jury verdicts – This is the scariest of the potential cost categories. Juries are now awarding huge sums related to accidents; looking just at trucking industry verdicts of over $1M, the average size of awards increased by nearly 1,000 percent from 2010 to 2018. These are verdicts that can force a medium-sized firm into bankruptcy.

 

Damage to Your Company’s Reputation

Odds are that a company’s fleet is adorned with its logo – it’s an extra way to build your company’s brand on the road. But it has a big potential downside when one of those vehicles is involved in a truck distracted driving accident and your employee is at fault. The story can spread quickly via social media, and if it’s a serious accident, to traditional news outlets damaging your company’s reputation and hurting your brand.

As Warren Buffet said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” While Mr. Buffet might not have been talking specifically about distracted driving, his words ring true in the event of a public enterprise distracted driving accident.

 

A Proactive Approach to Distracted Driving Prevention

Many companies have tried, and are still using, different types of distracted driving technology to reduce accidents. Some use in-vehicle cameras to record everything a driver does, others use telematics to record detailed data on vehicle movements. It is certainly possible to combine both techniques. While they can be useful, these technologies are essentially reactive, giving a management team something to look at after an accident. You need to be proactive.

The business and safety risks of distracted driving are simply too big to ignore. Each of your employees certainly has a responsibility to drive safely. However, as a business leader, the onus is on you to create as safe a work environment as possible for your drivers. The easiest way to prevent an accident is with proactive distracted driving solutions that reduce risk before drivers even start their engines. For example, a mobile device policy goes a long way in reducing risks, but it’s not always enough. Business leaders can use mobile device solutions that help enforce those policies that eliminate access to non-essential mobile apps while moving.

How?

By taking contextual and situational triggers into account, like IoT sensors, motion data, time of day, schedules, etc. Dynamic and proactive software solutions like Contextual Mobility Management (CMM) can detect when a driver is in motion. And then, based on a company’s mobile policy, can suppress access to certain distracting mobile applications while still enabling other, critical functions while in motion and in a protected mode. For example, drivers can still access their GPS apps and receive call notifications from their managers so they can pull over and take the call. However, while in protected mode, drivers won’t be able to access applications that pull their focus from the road.

Other solutions might be able to brick a phone while in motion, but that disables all mobile usage, including hands-free features or apps that may be critical to completing the job, potentially impacting the employee’s productivity.

 

Conclusion

Distracted driving is a pervasive problem not only for individuals but businesses as well, and the risks go beyond just the financial. Thankfully, business owners can greatly curb those risks by taking a proactive approach to distracted driving reduction. Learn How to Reduce Distracted Driving Risks in our e-book: “Kick Distracted Driving to the Curb and Promote a Safer and More Productive Workforce”.

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