Is Your Distracted Driving Policy Working?

Northland Insurance logo
By Northland Insurance
2 minutes

According to research conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), driver distraction is a leading cause of vehicle accidents. Nearly 80 percent of vehicle crashes involve driver inattention.1 Additionally, texting while driving can increase your crash risk as much as 23 times. Reaching for, dialing and talking on a cell phone are tasks that also can significantly increase crash risks.2

zoomed in shot of truck driver with phone in hand while behind the wheel

Recent highway crash data highlight the magnitude of the problem. The number of people injured in distraction-related crashes in 2012 totaled 421,000 – up 9 percent from the prior year.3 Despite these sobering statistics, many drivers continue to talk and text while driving, making distraction one of the most serious roadway safety issues we face today.

Considering the potential dangers and costs associated with vehicle accidents, distraction caused by mobile device use is a problem employers should address. Here are four ways you can help avoid the dangers of distracted driving in your fleet.

  1. Create – Create a formal, written policy stating your organization's position on mobile device use and other distractions while driving. A formal policy is the foundation of your distracted driving prevention program. It should apply to everyone in your organization who drives a vehicle on company business, whether it is a delivery truck, a sales vehicle, a supervisor visiting job sites or an office employee using a personal vehicle to run errands.
  2. Communicate – To be effective, safety policies should be communicated on a regular basis. The best way to communicate your policy is to ask every employee who drives on company business to acknowledge in writing that he or she has read, understands and will follow the policy. But you should not stop there. Use emails, newsletters, bulletin board postings, defensive driving training and signage in vehicles to communicate your policy in various ways throughout the year.
  3. Follow – Managers and office staff should lead by example. Let employees know that while they are on the road, no phone call or email is more important than their safety. To further prove that point, managers and other staff should defer conversations with employees until they are safely parked.
  4. Promote – Managers should define the safe driving practices and expected behaviors of those that drive for any business purpose. They should also take the appropriate steps to understand who is following these policies, and actively promote the desired behavior.

1 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study Fact Sheet, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute,
2 Driver Distraction in Commercial Vehicle Operations, FMCSA, September 2009.
3, U.S. Department of Transportation website, January 2014.

Doc#: LCT806

Red overturned truck

Up Next

Risk Factors in Serious Truck Crashes

Safely driving a large commercial vehicle requires considerable skill and good judgment that tends to evolve and improve with years of driving experience.

Northland Truck Transportation Safety Resources

Fleet Safety Program Evaluation Guide

In an industry where even minor accidents can cost thousands of dollars, controlling accidents is vital to a company’s financial success.

Yellow caution sign with the words safety first

Northland Truck Transportation Safety Resources

Vehicle Telematics Feedback and Coaching Guidelines

Vehicle telematics systems can provide fleet managers valuable data to help improve operational efficiencies and fleet safety.

Truck driver stands beside woman while pointing to tablet device

Northland Truck Transportation Safety Resources

Selecting the Right Telematics Device

Driver performance data can help identify risky driving behaviors before they lead to crashes.

Two black telematic devices
Male insurance agent wearing a headset, in a meeting, sitting in front of a computer screen.

Agents, do your trucking customers need reliable coverage?

Find a Northland general agent who can help.