Policies on distracted driving can reduce fatalities, ASSE says
Roadway crashes are the leading cause of workplace deaths with distracted driving incidents the cause of many. Following guidelines can "significantly help reduce distracted driving events," according to the American Society of Safety Engineers.
The organization issued materials in honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month last month. The top tips include putting down the phone, avoiding eating, and programming the GPS before you leave.
More than 500,000 people are injured, and another 6,000 are killed each year by drivers who are distracted, according to statistics.
"Technology, human error, faster speeds, and a natural inability to avoid a 37 percent drop in that part of the brain that lights up in driving simulations when engaged in a cellphone conversation" are major contributors, ASSE says. "Texting, map reading, talking on the phone, changing the radio dial, reaching for an object, fishing around in a bag, personal grooming, and similar activities result in thousands of distracted driving crashes daily."
Approximately 85 percent of crashes occur within three seconds of a driver's distraction, according to a Virginia Tech University study ASSE cites. The average duration of eyes off the road is 4.7 seconds for texting, 3.9 seconds for map reading, and 3.8 seconds for phone dialing. "Attempts at frequent eye movement between road and your distracted driving event will not statistically reduce your risk," ASSE says.
In addition to company policies that ban the use of cellphones while driving, the ASSE suggests you:
- Program your phone so you don't answer it, and notify the caller that you will be driving. For persons urgently needing your attention, devise a procedure such as three rings, hang up, wait two minutes and call again -- giving you time to pull over.
- Know your route, and pre-program your navigation system.
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May 3, 2012
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