As your company vehicle carries prized cargo and employees on the road, your most important priority is to ensure everyone and everything onboard arrives in one piece. Barring accidents caused by other parties, natural events, and unfortunate circumstances, your driver’s level of attention to the road–or lack thereof–can make the difference between a successful run and an insurance claim.

Cell phones and driving

Your driver may be easily distracted–and therefore less aware of the road–by things like:

  • chatting with passengers (or other drivers)
  • “rubbernecking”: being intensely attracted to sights on the road like car wrecks, emergency and law enforcement activities on the road, flashy tourist attractions, and even attractive passersby
  • map reading
  • personal activities like shaving, combing and arranging hair, applying make-up or skincare
  • products, or adjusting clothing
  • eating, drinking or smoking

But It Gets Worse

But even if your driver is never distracted by any of these things, carrying an active cell phone can be even worse than any of those things. According to a study conducted in 2006, “impairments caused by a using a cell phone while driving are greater than those exhibited by legally intoxicated drivers.” http://johnsonvorhees.com/blog/?p=168

Among other things, in 2007 cell phone use was found to cause slower reflexes and reactions, inattention blindness (which is what happens when you don’t see what’s going on in front of you due to your attention elsewhere), and decreased awareness of surroundings. This makes it easier to miss a traffic signal or turn, recover speed, or brake in time to avoid hitting something. http://johnsonvorhees.com/blog/?p=168

The US Department of Transportation plans to introduce regulations that will make it illegal for commercial drivers to use a cell phone while driving a company vehicle.

What is a commercial motor vehicle?
A vehicle that:
–weighs over 26,000 lbs.
–carries 16 or more people (11 if younger than 21 and commuting to school)
–is used to transport hazardous materials that require the HAZMAT signage on the outside of the vehicle