Distracted Driving: Safety in the Federal Fleet
June is National Safety Month and driver safety is always a top priority for GSA’s fleet programs. The biggest risk to driver safety is distracted driving. Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
- Mobile phone use
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video, etc.
This past April was Distracted Driver Awareness Month. GSA Fleet hosted four customer focused webinars and distributed a newsletter series that emphasized the dangers of distracted driving. The program reached thousands of our national and regional customers and delivered several important messages.
Distract driving is an epidemic. Its prevalence on American roads and highways is undeniable. According to statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over 25% of all crashes each year, 1.4 million are the result of distracted driving. Young drivers are also at a great risk with 78% of teens saying they have read a text while driving (Distraction.gov). Young drivers and older drivers alike put even the safest of drivers at risk when behind the wheel and distracted.
Distracted driving puts our federal drivers at risk of injury and death. In our Rocky Mountain Region the collision rate is 9.1 collisions per million miles driven. Over the last 2-1/2 years our fleet has driven 300 million miles and been involved in 2,944 accidents. In this same time period there have been 89 injuries and 4 fatalities. Statistics do not include those who were distracted however, it is safe to assume these rates would go down if all drivers remained focused while behind the wheel.
Distracted driving is costly. The average cost per collision in the Rocky Mountain Region is $1,823. This is higher than the national average due to the fact that the fleet consists primarily of trucks and other than sedan’ vehicles.
Distracted driving is preventable. It takes a conscious acknowledgement when getting behind the wheel that driving will require 100% attention. This alone will eliminate risk, will set a positive example for passengers, and will increase your chances of not getting into a collision.