fleetdigest August / September 2017
The June 2017 issue of fleetdigest is now available online. You can flip through it here, but first, a few words from the Associate Publisher of fleetdigest, Jack Kazmierski.
Was it Worth it?
We need to figure out a way to stop distracted driving.
Have you ever come across a collision that simply didn’t make sense? I think all of us have. Here’s the classic scenario: It’s a beautiful day, the pavement is dry and visibility is great. Yet somehow, someone happens to defy the odds (that were in their favour, to begin with), only to hit the vehicle ahead of them head-on, without any evidence that they even tried to swerve to avoid the accident.
How does that happen? I think we all know the answer: Texting. Either they looked down to see who had just texted them, or they were busy replying to a text. Either way, their eyes were not on the road for that split second that would have made all the difference.
When I pass a collision like that, I always think to myself, “I hope that text was worth it.” Maybe their lawyer just texted them, letting them know that they’ve been acquitted of all charges in a serious court case. Or maybe it was a text from their doctor, letting them know that their latest test results were great and that they no longer have to worry about having only six months to live.
Either scenario is highly unlikely.
Chances are, it was probably a text from a friend confirming dinner plans, or maybe a grocery list from a spouse, or something mundane from a coworker. Nothing worth the expense, the headache and the loss of time (if not something more serious) that the “accident” will cost them.
Distracted driving is a modern menace. It’s as bad as drunk driving, except that you can’t fail a breathalyzer for it. Statistics prove that these senseless rear-end collisions are on the rise, and it’s a challenge all fleet managers have to wrap their minds around.
The question is, what can be done about it? Technology can certainly help, and many fleet managers are investing in technologies that will cut phone reception while the vehicle is in motion.
Policies can also make a difference. Some fleets ban the use of cell phones whenever the engine is on, and they stick to a very strict zero-tolerance policy. If they catch you using your phone, you’re dismissed. Period.
But technology and policies can only go so far. They may stop 80 percent of drivers, but there will always be the rebels who find a way to bypass technology or evade policy watchdogs. If they’re determined to use a phone while driving, they will.
A fool-proof solution to this problem seems to be evasive. There are ways to stop some of the people some of the time, but stopping all the people all the time, that’s a challenge that seems to be as daunting as eliminating drunk driving from the face of the planet.
But it’s a challenge we can’t give up on. Lives are at stake, and it’s really NOT worth it.