One second. That is all it takes to change your life when you are a distracted driver. A vehicle can travel 66 feet per second when traveling at 45 miles per hour. That is a significant amount of distance traveled in a short period of time, and a one-second distraction could lead to a collision with another vehicle, a pedestrian, or an object. In addition to pain and suffering for those involved in a distracted driving vehicle accident, this could significantly damage an employer’s reputation and cost the company a substantial amount of money.

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), cellphone use has consistently been shown to increase the risk of being involved in a crash1. The IIHS also found that drivers distracted by cellphone use have a 2-6 times higher crash risk than those not distracted. Talking on the phone or sending a text message may impair a driver’s cognitive function which can impact their reaction time and ability to process information as they are driving1. Distracted driving does not only involve cellphone use. A distracted driver may be eating or drinking, adjusting the radio, reading, or interacting with passengers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 3,308 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes due to distracted driving. An additional 289,310 people were injured in crashes that involved distracted drivers1. To combat the distracted driving crash risk, many states have implemented a partial or full ban on hand-held devices, however the effects of this have had mixed results as to the level of effectiveness in preventing crashes1. Fines have been used in combatting the risk as well. Technology continues to be used to make drivers safer and less distracted than ever before. Many vehicles and phone providers have safe driving modes to prevent the driver from using the device while driving. Additionally, the technology that allows drivers to connect to the vehicle wirelessly and use voice command when navigating the vehicle may help in reducing crash risk1.

On a positive note, 2023 is estimated to have had a decrease in vehicle crash fatalities over 2022 with about 3.6% fewer fatalities, even with an increase in miles driven. This is good news, and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) continues to work to improve driver safety with investments in vehicle technology and distracted driver campaigns2. In addition to being aware of these safe driver campaigns, there are many actions that drivers can take to prevent them from becoming a distracted driver statistic:

  • First and foremost, electronic devices should never be used during operation of a vehicle. For employers, this can apply not only to the entire company fleet, but for forklift operation as well.
  • Do not eat or drink while operating a vehicle.
  • Avoid passenger distractions, and if necessary, pull over and stop the vehicle if a situation needs to be handled with a distracting passenger.
  • Never drive under the influence of Alcohol or Drugs.
  • Avoid driving if when sleep deprived.

CMI can assist  with fleet safety risk assessments, development of distracted driver policies and resources for safe driving and training that can help your employees be as safe as possible when on the road.


1 IIHS Distracted Driving

2 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Written by: Phoebe Ivady, ASP

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