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Distracted Driving: know the dangers; educate drivers

For a business such as yours that depends on employees to drive, distracted driving losses are a serious concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who drive for work are more likely to be in a hurry to reach their destinations, think about work tasks, experience fatigue, or use their cellphones on the road.

Types of Distracted Driving

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, there are three primary types of distractions drivers may encounter on the road. These include:

  • Visual distractions—Anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road is a visual distraction. This includes reading text messages, glancing at directions or turning to look at accidents.
  • Manual distractions—These distractions include anything that causes a driver to take their hands off the wheel, such as reaching for something in the vehicle, adjusting the radio, eating or drinking. 
  • Cognitive distractions—A driver whose mind isn’t on the road is cognitively distracted. These distractions can include talking on the phone, chatting with a passenger or thinking about topics other than driving behind the wheel.

Any type of distracted driving is dangerous and can result in serious accidents or injuries.

Advisen Data


Advisen, an insurance data provider, has a database of information on accidents related to distracted driving. They report that the transportation and warehousing industry accounts for the largest proportion of distracted driving losses in their database at 36%. The public administration, construction, administration, support, and waste management sectors also contain a high percentage of distracted driving losses.

State and Federal Laws

Most states have laws that ban texting while driving. A growing number of states have also banned the use of handheld devices behind the wheel.

At the federal level, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration prohibits commercial motor vehicle drivers from sending or reading texts, or otherwise using handheld devices while driving. Drivers who fail to comply with these standards may face fines or disqualifications, in addition to the risk of causing deadly accidents.


To reduce distracted driving losses, consider the following prevention measures:

  • Create a distracted driving policy. Ban the use of handheld devices while driving. Other distracting activities such as eating, grooming and reading should also be prohibited.
  • Use technology. Consider installing phone-blocking technology within vehicles. It may also be valuable to implement technology that can detect and warn drivers when they are distracted.
  • Communicate policies to employees. Any changes about the types of technology being used in vehicles should be clearly communicated to employees. Ensure cellphone policies and other distracted driving policies are clearly written and accessible for all drivers.
  • Lead by example. Managers should clearly communicate the message that answering emails and texts are not as important as driving safely. Ask managers to refrain from texting or calling employees behind the wheel.
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