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Are your drivers distracted?

Most drivers at some point have arrived at their destination without remembering very much about the journey. This can happen on a familiar route that’s driven every day or a journey driven on regular basis.

Driver distractions

Driver attention can be distracted by many things. It could be smoking, eating or taking a call on a mobile phone – even if hands free – affecting driver reaction times. Any devices that take the driver’s eyes away from the road, such as altering a route on sat nav or changing radio stations should be avoided unless the vehicle is stationary. This can be very serious, as happened in the case involving lorry driver Tomasz Kroker who was scrolling through music on his mobile phone.

Research suggests that drivers who eat and drink at the wheel can be twice as likely to crash. A recent survey revealed a third of drivers admit to eating at the wheel and one in 10 had suffered a near-miss because they were distracted by food while driving. The worst offenders are drivers aged 25-34, unwrapping and eating food at the wheel.

Drivers suffering stress or anxiety may find it hard to concentrate on the journey in hand and have their mind on non-related thoughts behind the wheel. Try and encourage all your company drivers to use driving time just for driving and to seek help and support from their manager or from their GP, if they are experiencing stress and anxiety about work and non-work issues.

Driver fatigue, especially at night, can affect concentration and prevents drivers being alert to what’s happening on the road and quickly identify hazards. Speed awareness courses encourage drivers to talk out loud about what they notice along a route and to identify potential hazards to improve short term driver concentration. Regular breaks also help drivers stay alert on long journeys.

Driver health is an important factor too. If feeling unwell, drivers may be far less focussed and alert. Anyone driving for work who is taking regular or new medication must always check with their GP that they are safe to drive.

Distractions which affect concentration potentially affect reaction times and the ability of drivers to slow down, stop, or take swift evasive action to avoid collision.  In the worst cases, distractions can have fatal consequences.

The top priority for any journey should be to arrive safely. Make sure your drivers are aware of all the factors that affect road safety and what they need to do to avoid distractions, stay focussed and road safe.

At Andrew Bourne we spend time really getting to know how your commercial haulage operation works. We aim to get a thorough understanding of your business and we can support you to better manage and train your drivers and any of your staff who drive as part of their job. We work hard for you, to create a bespoke insurance solution that’s responsive to your business and supports you to manage your risks more effectively. If you’d like to speak to us, call David Crowther on 0116 272 0770.