5 Often Overlooked Driver Distractions

Prohibiting the use of mobile devices while driving has always been the forefront of company fleet safety policies to curb distracted driver. However, there are several often overlooked driver distractions that can have a larger impact than cell phone use.

Prohibiting the use of mobile devices while driving has always been the forefront of company fleet safety policies to curb distracted driver. However, there are several often ove

rlooked driver distractions that can have a larger impact than cell phone use.

A number of years ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA reported that all drivers are engaged in secondary tasks 30% of the time while their vehicles are in motion. Furthermore, Virginia Tech Transportation Institution, together with NHTSA, showed that driver distractions were behind 65% of near-crashes and 80% of crashes. The research also shows that most crashes occurred within 3 seconds after the driver was distracted.

While mobile phone use and texting may be today’s biggest fleet safety problem, but there are other widespread driver distractions that also significantly increase crash risks.

Top 5 Often Overlooked Driver Distractions:

  1. Eating – According to NHTSA, munching in food while driving is riskier than talking or even listening to a handheld device. After a closer review on the 2006 crash-risk analysis, NHTSA discovered that the extended glance length of eating while driving caused a 1.51:1 crash-risk ratio while talking or listening to hand held device while driving caused a 1.29:1 crash-risk ratio.
  2. Drowsy Driving – A drowsy driver reduces the ability to react at any given moment. This increases the crash risk ratio to 4.24:1, according to NHTSA. This has more to do with time-of-day than time-on-task. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) found out that driving drowsy is two time more likely to occur during the first hour of a work shift because drivers are not fully refreshed and awake when their work day begins.
  3. Daydreaming – Erie Insurance Company released its Fatality Analysis Reporting System this year, which reviewed the crash data between 2010 and 2011. According to the report, police officers listed drivers as “lost” or not touch-based with reality 62% of the time as the cause of vehicle accidents.
  4. In-Vehicle Entertainment – NHTSA reported that crash-risk increased after the driver’s eyes left the road for more than 2 seconds. This was found when drivers were instructed to perform radio tuning using standard controls, displays, and driver aids of today. Furthermore, NHTSA also noted that a task should not take longer 12 seconds.
  5. Sightseeing – It has always been a good advice for drivers to scan the road constantly. However, fixating on a specific object for long is a different story. FMCSA reported that drivers who fixate on external objects like billboards, people and landmarks are more likely to enter into a blind gaze where they are no longer paying attention to the road.

You can curb distracted driving of any kind by using GRG’s intelligent driver feedback, that will alert the driver if it detects distracted behavior.  Click here for more information about driver safety.