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Safety Matters: Avoid Distracted Driving

Did you just open this newsletter from behind the wheel? Let's hope not! According to the National Safety Council (NSC) analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data finds that 3,308 people died and an additional 289,310 people were injured in distraction-affected crashes in 2022. Whether your drive is personal or for work, let's face it, today's drivers don’t take distracted driving seriously enough. 


Driver distraction is a specific type of driver inattention that occurs when drivers divert attention from the driving task to focus on some other activity. Often discussions regarding distracted driving center around cellphone use and texting, but distracted driving also includes things such as eating, talking to passengers, adjusting the radio/climate controls, or adjusting other vehicle controls. A distraction-affected traffic crash is any traffic crash in which a driver was identified as distracted at the time of the crash.


Stay Safe

• Use a seat belt at all times – driver and passenger(s).

• Be well-rested before driving.

• Avoid taking medications that make you drowsy.

• Set a realistic goal for the number of miles that you can drive safely each day.

• If you are impaired by alcohol or any drug, do not drive.


Stay Focused

• Driving requires your full attention. Avoid distractions, such as adjusting the radio or other controls, eating or drinking, and talking on the phone. Even a hands-free conversation can distract you.

• Continually search the roadway to be alert to situations requiring quick action.

• Take Breaks - Stop about every two hours for a break. Get out of the vehicle to stretch, take a walk, and get refreshed.


Avoid Aggressive Driving

• Keep your cool in traffic!

• Be patient and courteous to other drivers.

• Do not take other drivers’ actions personally.

• Reduce your stress by planning your route ahead of time (search maps and directions before entering the vehicle), allowing plenty of travel time.

• Don't multi-task while driving. Whether it’s adjusting your mirrors, picking the music, eating a sandwich, making a phone call, or reading an email―do it before or after your trip, not during.


What Passengers Can Do

• Speak up if you are a passenger in a car with a distracted driver.

• Ask the driver to focus on driving.

• Reduce distractions for the driver by assisting with navigation or other tasks.


What can employers do to improve safety? Talk to your employees about safety.


*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For further information, please consult a risk management professional.

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