Driving Without Incident: Strategies that May Surprise You

We hear a lot about the dangers of drunk driving, but did you know it is only the Number 3 cause of accidents? The Number 1 cause, by far, is distracted driving. Per a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), 80 percent of automobile accidents and 65 percent of near-accidents involve some form of driver distraction within three seconds of the incident.

Although talking or texting on a cell phone is a common example of distracted driving, anything that diverts a driver’s attention from the road is dangerous.

Causes of Accidents

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Other top causes of distracted driving include:

  • Reaching for a moving object inside the vehicle (reaching for any object can be dangerous)
  • Looking at an object or event outside the vehicle
  • Reading a book
  • Eating food
  • Applying makeup

In addition to distracted driving and drunk driving, a variety of dangerous behaviors have been implicated in accidents or near misses.

#2. Speeding
#4. Reckless Driving (This is a catch-all term for drivers who speed, change lanes too quickly, tailgate, etc.)
#5. Rain
#6. Running Red Lights
#7. Running Stop Signs
#8. Teenage Drivers
#9. Night Driving
#10. Vehicle Design Defects

Several of these (#2, #4, #6 and #7) involve personnel breaking the law. Policies for these activities should be stringently enforced. Where safely possible, personnel should also avoid apparently reckless (erratic) drivers, who may also be impatient or aggressive drivers.

For the activities that are not illegal, business owners can still establish policies that have a positive impact, such as prohibiting unnecessary driving (e.g. errands) in the rain or at night, and ensuring vehicle recall notices are promptly addressed. Driving at night is especially dangerous. It nearly doubles the risk of an accident.