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Businesses must do more to tackle driver distractions, IAM Roadsmart says

Date: 12 February 2019   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Firms urgently need to tackle the issue of distracted drivers by overhauling their safety at work policies.

That's according to IAM Roadsmart, which says businesses need to help reduce the number of avoidable crashes on UK roads attributed to that issue.

The charity published the findings in a white paper entitled Driving While Distracted: Challenges and Solutions. It examines the reasons why so many motorists' minds wander while driving, with Department for Transport figures showing that in 2017 there were 4,639 casualties caused by in-vehicle distractions. 

IAM Roadsmart says that on top of the employee safety aspect, fleet operators are facing higher costs for fines, damages and charges, while at the same time the amount of technology fitted to new vehicles is seemingly increasing by the day. 

Among the paper's recommendations is that businesses should consistently apply a mobile phone policy to address the growing trend of 'nomophobia' - the fear of being out of mobile phone contact, said to be particularly prevalent among business drivers.

It also says that advanced driver assistance systems - which can tempt motorists to switch off one minute and retake control the next - could increase the risk of distraction. 

The paper concludes that businesses need a robust company driver training policy that isn't ignored. 

IAM Roadsmart business development director Tony Greenidge said: "Our white paper shows that with increasing the sophistication of in-car technology, there is an unintended consequence that requires drivers - typically in real time - to decide how to best process and utilise the information provided.

"Employers also have a key role to play by ensuring that their travel and mobility policies allow drivers to take full advantage of technology but in a way that is both safe and legal."