Establishing a Distracted Driving Policy: Essential Considerations

Creating a distracted driving policy for your fleet is an important step in ensuring the safety of your drivers and protecting your organization. Here are some key considerations when developing a distracted driving policy:

Crafting the Policy Statement

Clearly state the purpose and objective of the policy. Emphasize the importance of driver safety, reducing accidents, and complying with traffic laws.

Defining Prohibited Activities

Define what activities are considered distractions and explicitly prohibit them while driving. This can include:

  • Texting or using a handheld device while operating a vehicle.
  • Engaging in phone conversations without a hands-free system.
  • Using any electronic device for non-driving related purposes.
  • Eating, drinking, or other activities that can take a driver’s attention off the road.

Guidelines on Hands-Free and Voice-Activated Systems

Specify whether the use of hands-free and voice-activated systems is allowed. If permitted, provide guidelines on their proper use and emphasize the importance of minimizing distractions even with these systems.

Managing Company Vehicle Use

Clarify that the distracted driving policy applies to all company-provided vehicles, leased vehicles, and personal vehicles used for work purposes. Reinforce that employees are responsible for following the policy while operating any vehicle on company business.

Developing Mobile Device Usage Policies

Establish guidelines for the use of mobile devices. This can include:

  • Prohibiting non-emergency phone calls and texting while driving.
  • Requiring drivers to pull over in a safe location before using a mobile device.
  • Encouraging the use of voicemail and automated message responses to manage communications while driving.

Implementing Consequences for Policy Violations

Clearly state the consequences for violating the distracted driving policy. This can include disciplinary actions, such as verbal/written warnings, training requirements, suspension, or termination, depending on the severity and frequency of the violation.

Educating and Training the Drivers

Provide comprehensive training to drivers on the dangers of distracted driving and the specifics of the policy. Offer educational resources, such as an online defensive driving course, to reinforce safe driving practices.

Reporting and Incident Response Mechanisms

Establish procedures for reporting and documenting incidents related to distracted driving. Encourage drivers to report violations or near-miss incidents to promote a culture of accountability and continuous improvement.

Regularly Reviewing the Policy

Set a schedule for policy review and revision to ensure it remains up to date with changing technology, laws, and best practices.

Leading by Example

Encourage leadership and management to model safe driving behavior and adhere to the policy themselves. This sends a strong message and promotes a culture of safety within the organization.

In conclusion, remember that your organization’s distracted driving policy should be tailored to your specific needs and legal requirements. Consulting legal advisors or specialists in fleet management can provide valuable guidance during the policy development process.