From Our Friends at VRM Telematics – Distracted Driving: The American Epidemic

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Ending distracted driving is everyone's responsibility. 

One of the most effective deterrents to distracted driving is a real-time tracking device. Not only do these devices provide the tools to effectively track, report, and manage your fleets, they are also an excellent way for parents to monitor their teen drivers. Tracking devices are able to monitor and report in real time driver history and location, speeding, idle time, geo-fence, harsh driving, address proximity, and engine on and off.

The new Sentinel Pro device has gone a step further toward driver safety and distracted driving solutions and now offers an innovative, patented solution to monitor cell phone use while driving. VRM Telematics is the ONLY company that offers this feature! Fleet managers in the health care industry are encouraged to weigh the advantages of adding a tracking device to each of their vehicles.

You might ask why Sentinel Pro tracking devices should be installed in home health care fleets. Sentinel Pro helps reduce distracted driving, particularly cell phone use. In addition, the device can be turned on and off for employees who use their vehicles outside of working hours, easily assigns drivers to different vehicles, and can send in-vehicle audio message to “Safely pull over and check your messages.” Finally, fleet managers should check with their insurance carriers to discover the impact on insurance premiums.

Safer to Drink and Drive or Text and Drive?

The statistics are shocking: 64 percent of 2.5 million road accidents annually in the U.S. involve cell phones. More companies are enforcing strict cell phone policies in their vehicles due to safety and liability issues. According to the National Safety Council, motor vehicle crashes cost employers more than $15 billion annually in medical care, legal expense, property damage, and lost productivity. Texting and driving is SIX TIMES more likely to get you into an accident than drunk driving. That’s right – it is actually safer for someone to get intoxicated and get behind the wheel than to text while driving.

It takes an average of three seconds after a driver’s mind is taken off the road for any road accident to occur. Three seconds is the time it takes to turn on your ignition when starting your car. Reading a text message while driving distracts a driver for a minimum of five seconds each time. At 55 miles per hour, this equates to a driver traveling the approximate length of a football field without looking at the roadway.

Develop an In-vehicle Cell Phone Policy

Commercial insurance companies recommend that fleet vehicle owners establish an in-vehicle cell phone policy. The purpose of this policy is to reduce liability, risk, and expense plus ensure the safety of those individuals who drive company vehicles. Vehicle accidents are costly, but more importantly, they may result in injury or death. Imagine an employee accident due to texting and driving: $26,000 average cost per crash, $128,000 average for injury resulting from a crash, and $3.8 million average cost for fatality resulting from a crash!

It is the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner and to drive defensively to prevent injuries and property damage. As such, employers should endorse all applicable state motor vehicle regulations relating to driver responsibility. The employer expects each driver to drive in a safe and courteous manner pursuant to the following safety rules. The attitude you take when behind the wheel is the single most important factor in driving safely.

  • It’s illegal in most states for drivers to use cell phones while driving. Companies that allow drivers to do this could face a maximum penalty of $11,000. In addition to motor safety there is a major liability factor. Most fleet owners are being required by their insurance carriers to enforce strict cell phone policies. These policies have a direct impact on insurance premiums.  
  • As of November 2018, 47 states placed a ban on texting and driving. Now is the time that each driver must take personal responsibility. Nearly everyone is guilty of some form of distracted driving. In fact, distracted drivers are almost everywhere you look: the cell phone socialite, the in-car iPod DJ, the high-fashion cosmetician, the three-course meal king or queen.
  • If you have delivery vehicles, you might think that you need your cell phone for directions, maps, and road conditions, but, on the contrary, there are a number of very effective and user-friendly offline navigation devices and apps that are actually superior to cell phone navigation, especially in rural areas. 

Recommendations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to help with driver safety:

  • Use your cell phone for emergency situations only.
  • Make a habit of thinking about what calls or texts you need to send before you begin your trip.
  • Select a friend to be your designated texter while you’re behind the wheel.
  • Stow your phone somewhere you can’t peek at it. Try putting it in the glove compartment or inside a purse or backpack in the back seat.
  • Silence notifications that tempt you to check your phone.
  • If you absolutely cannot wait, pull over when you can do so safely.

If driver safety, fleet efficiency, corporate liability, and improving your bottom line are important to you, take time to check out our solution, Sentinel Pro. Contact: Kate Shipman, VRM Telematics, at 760-396-8754 or [email protected].