Jun
30
Double Jeopardy – Distracted Driving During COVID-19

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has unequivocally put immense pressures on fleets all around the world. As transportation workers push themselves to the limits to keep warehouse and supermarkets stocked, it has also put a severe strain on fleet safety programs and added pressure to fleet and safety leaders everywhere. Add the ever-present risk of distracted driving to severe driver fatigue, and now the problems of long hours behind the wheel are compounded to point where businesses are now fighting fleet safety on two fronts. The good news? There are technologies available to help fight this battle and keep drivers safe.

To ensure that critical supply chains and essential services remain strong enough to keep societies and economies on life support, many government agencies have temporarily relaxed regulations, including those related to driver hours. However, with drivers working longer hours, the risk of fatigued driving increases dramatically. Coupled with the effects of distracted driving, which already constitutes and alarming number of traffic accidents and fatalities, ensuring world class fleet safety during COVID-19 seems like an insurmountable task. Technology solutions, such as telematics and mobile applications, can help reduce the risks during COVID-19.

“Ironically, distracted driving was at epidemic levels pre-COVID,” according to Jim Ramirez, CEO and founder of TextNinja and Motovate. “Sending or reading a text during normal times is enough of a distraction. If you take the behavioral effects of COVID-19, and consider that drivers are more inclined to pick up their phone while driving to look at the latest news feed or the latest text from a boss, the frequency of phone use behind the wheel is most likely at alarming levels.”

What can you do to provide fleet safety during COVID-19?

Providing protection from both COVID-19 and distracted driving follow parallel paths. The follow tips illustrate this point:

  1. Provide the right tools and equipment– for virus protection and injury prevention. Think of distracted driving prevention technology as you would any other safety equipment or tool that you provide your employees. Much in the same way you are providing your essential personnel with PPE, face masks, gloves, disinfectants, temperature scans, etc., consider the benefits that “protective technology” can deliver. Whether it is telematics or distracted driving prevention applications, drivers will need the right safety tools to remain safe as an essential part of the business.
  2. Use data to learn more. Companies across the world are using credible sources of data to track COVID-19 risks, whether it is governmental databases or university resources. In the same manner, organizations can use telematics and distracted driving applications to review key risk data, such as how many hours spent behind the wheel, miles logged, distractions prevented, phone use while behind the wheel, etc. Leveraging data sources can help fleet managers make informed decisions and conduct data-driven risk analysis.
  3. Don’t Forget Regulatory Compliance. Companies continue to grapple with state by state COVID-19 directives and executive orders, and the same struggle exists with distracted driving laws. The personal injury law firm of Siegfried and Jensen conducted an analysis to understand how states nationwide have implemented laws to regulate distracted driving to reduce risks of crashes and to determine which states have the strictest and most lenient distracted driving laws. Using distracted driving prevention technology can help promote and simplify compliance in a time when all safety and fleet managers are facing unprecedented regulatory challenges.

Moving Forward

At Text Ninja and Motovate, we are proud and humbled by the courage and diligence of front-line workers and fleet drivers all across the globe during this unprecedented crisis. The essential workforce, comprised of all types of drivers and motorists, deserve the utmost protection while working to deliver the goods and services that are helping society overcome this pandemic.

If you are interested in learning more about how our technology can help your fleet safety program, check out our fleet safety solutions.

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