Although it’s not difficult to grasp the most fundamental traffic laws, the crowded roads we travel on everyday result in at least 50 million injuries and disabilities each year. Roadway crashes are the number one killer of Americans under 54. More than 50 percent of all crashes resulting in injury or fatalities occur near or at intersections. In August, America observed Stop on Red Week, a campaign that raises awareness of the dangers of careless driving. Let’s be mindful of these facts and collaborate to identify the steps we can take to alter our trajectory and lower the number of automobile collisions.
Driving when distracted is dangerous driving
There are numerous causes for collisions, and more than 10,000 bus collisions result in passenger injuries or fatalities each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is the scenario that happens the most, killing 3,142 people and injuring more than 420,000 motorists in 2020 alone. A single glance at a phone to read or send a text message can cause a driver traveling at 55 mph to lose concentration for five seconds, allowing their vehicle to traverse the length of a football field.
Consider a scenario where a bus driver checks his or her phone at a red light, and as the light turns green, a vehicle behind the driver honks, prompting the distracted driver to hit the gas without looking both ways. Alternately, perhaps another loses patience and swerves around them. In either case, using a cell phone at a red light increases the chance of a crash.
Employers whose employees spend time on the road while on the job are more likely to suffer the repercussions of reckless driving, especially if those drivers are in charge of transporting passengers. According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, employers spent $18.8 billion on crashes brought on by distracted driving in 2018. Fleet managers are now required to monitor driver behavior and provide opportunities to learn and grow due to cell phone use while driving.
The Importance of Stop on Red Week
The ideal time to emphasize the significance of all existing traffic regulations is during Stop on Red Week. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) launched the effort to inform motorists about the danger of traffic accidents and how common-sense precautions at stop signs and red lights might prevent fatalities by lowering crash rates.
Stop on Red Week is significant for the following reasons:
Reintroduction of traffic laws. Rush-hour drivers may ignore traffic signs, which can cause accidents near busy intersections. Stop on Red Week emphasizes how crucial it is to obey traffic signals to prevent any harm or accidents brought on by breaking the law.
Reiterates the significance of traffic signals. Although most drivers are aware of the fundamental traffic laws, it is easy to overlook how crucial they must be followed.
Steers motorists to abstain from careless driving. Someone running late for work can easily become irate if they cannot make a left turn or encounter a large number of red lights. The campaign urges people to pause and consider how dangerous the roadways would be if motorists, many of whom are distracted, raced through junctions.
Utilize Technology to Protect Fleets
Fleets may control their drivers and ensure they drive responsibly using various methods. Smart dash cameras are the first step fleet managers should take to ensure safe driving. For improved visibility throughout a dispersed fleet, cameras equipped with video capture may identify events in real-time, determine who is at blame, and perform sophisticated automated reporting. Smart dash cams can identify various issues, including driver following distance, seatbelt non-compliance, driver fatigue, hard acceleration, speeding offenses, and distracted driving. Many smart cameras use artificial intelligence (AI) to detect dangerous driving habits automatically. With this, drivers can get real-time teaching and in-cab alerts, giving them the chance to get better.
Be proactive in safety efforts
Whatever the cause, proactive identification and correction of risky behavior protects drivers, other motorists, and pedestrians from harm and, at the very least, can help prevent expensive traffic infractions. With the help of driver education and training programs, dash cams can identify unsafe driving practices and improve overall safety. Ultimately, deploying smart dash cameras will foster a driving environment where everyone is safer, and costs related to distracted driving are decreased.
To follow the conversation on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms, use the hashtag #StopOnRedWeek.
Belinda Rueffer is vice president of marketing at GPS Insight. With nearly a decade of experience in the transportation and fleet industries, Rueffer is an advocate for driver and vehicle safety initiatives and the technologies that fuel them. Based in Dallas, Texas, Rueffer has an MBA in Marketing, and is honored to be recognized as a leader in transportation and supply chain by Moxy: The Voice of Women in Infrastructure.