By Steve Hallo
Distracted Commercial Driving
Distracted driving accounted for 74% of vehicle accidents on the job, while speeding was a factor in 31% of on-the-job incidents, according to workforce platform and software provider Motus. Driving under the influence was the third leading cause of on-the-job vehicle accidents, playing a factor in 18% of accidents. While distracted driving leads to more on-the-job accidents, speeding is more common. The latter’s impact on work-related vehicle crashes is relatively low compared to off-the-job incidents (involving a company vehicle), in which speed is a contributing factor nearly 70% of the time. When it comes to off-the-clock accidents in a work vehicle, alcohol comes into play 82% of the time, while distracted driving impacts just 26% of these types of incidents. Motus noted in its report that while discouraging the use of mobile devices among workers should be an easy step in reducing risk, at times, upper management will argue that salespeople should be engaging clients on sales calls and teleconferences during long drives. This effectively “encourages more screen time,” the report stated. Miles driven dropped, but risks increased “Despite the pandemic’s large impact on travel, dropping business mileage well below normal levels for months, employers still pay the price for vehicle accidents,” Ken Robinson, market research manager at Motus, said in a release. “Now, drivers are expected to return to the roads in increasing numbers. As traffic volumes increase, so does the risk of auto accidents. Both on-the-job and off-the-job driving accidents impact employers via property damage, workplace disruption, liability, health care and wage replacement.” Robinson explained that it is critical employers reduce risk by offering resources such as safe driving programs. Additionally, companies can employ programs, such as continuous motor vehicle record monitoring, to stay on top of changing driving behaviors among employees. “Driver safety programs can reduce health care expenses to employers without reducing the benefits offered to employees,” he said. “Less frequent auto accidents also improve productivity, as employees aren’t missing work for repairs, court, doctor’s appointments or injuries. Most importantly, helping employees change dangerous driving behaviors can make the roads safer for everyone.”. Motus research also found U.S. metropolitan areas are seeing a 22% increase in vehicle speeds compared to the pre-pandemic average. The software provider chalked this up to drivers picking up bad habits on less congested roads during the pandemic. What makes this finding more troubling is the fact that a 10% increase in average speeds traveled is likely to have a greater impact on traffic fatalities than a 10% increase in road traffic. Employers should expect to face both in the coming months.