Driver safety is paramount to a fleet’s success. However, no amount of safety devices can contend with a distracted driver. Over one-third of millennials check their phones at least once per hour compared to 21% of the rest of the population. In fact, most people check their phones upward of 100 times per day.
The Problem with Digital Dependency
Being tied to technology creates a multitude of problems for drivers; however, the greatest is its effect on sleep. One survey found that over half of respondents slept with their phone next to their bed, 13% slept with their phone in their bed, and 3% slept with their phone in their hand. This creates a sense of urgency for every after-hour text, phone call, or email.
New messages disturb sleep and make employees feel like they need to respond right away. Driver fatigue is one of the known leading causes of accidents and fatalities in the transportation industry so it behooves fleets to get serious about how attached drivers are to their phones.
Finding Solutions to Improve Safety
The simplest solution to the reliance on cell phones is to stop multitasking. The vast majority of people who attempt to multitask fail to be effective. For example, drivers know they shouldn’t text and drive or talk on the phone and drive. However, a ping of a new message or phone call is often a tempting lure. Drivers can download apps that prevent non-urgent texts and emails from coming through, but the problem is not just with drivers.
Fleet managers often send the wrong signal when it comes to cell phone usage. For example, if a manager checks his or her phone several times during a conversation with a driver, that individual will likely feel like the manager isn’t paying attention. This can create a negative cycle where employees don’t bring forward problems or concerns due to a perceived lack of interest from management.
Managers should also pay attention to when they send emails. It may be a manager’s preference to send emails after hours, but this practice can make employees feel pressured to respond even though they aren’t on the clock. If this is the case, managers should set clear expectations that they don’t expect employees to read or respond to emails sent after hours until the following workday.
Technology isn’t going to go away or slow down anytime soon. However, how fleets and drivers manage their use of it has a big effect on overall safety. If your fleet is struggling with transportation safety, contact the experts at Cline Wood to learn how we can help.
This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.driver safety, fleet safety, trucking news, trucking safety