P/EVO distracted driving article

Taking the appropriate steps to reduce driving distractions is one of the most important things you can do as a Pilot/Escort Vehicle Operator (P/EVO). Distracted driving contributes to thousands of deaths each year. Even “minor” incidents that do not result in fatalities can be damaging to the load you’re moving, your employer’s reputation, and your career.

According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is “any activity that diverts attention from driving.”

There are three main types of driver distractions:

  • Visual: things that take your eyes off the road
  • Physical: things that take your hands off the wheel
  • Mental: things that take your mind off the task of driving

Common driver distractions include:

  • Talking on the phone
  • Text messaging
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to others in your vehicle
  • Picking up fallen items
  • Adjusting the the settings on the radio, GPS, or other features on your vehicle

As a (P/EVO), you’re likely to encounter additional specific scenarios that can contribute to distracted driving, including communicating with the other members of your team, watching the road for hazards, monitoring traffic around the load, and referencing maps or route surveys while behind the wheel.

The best way to avoid incidents related to distracted driving is to avoid activities that take your eyes and mind off of the road. Taking care of phone calls, responding to messages, and adjusting your vehicle’s settings should be done before you begin your trip.

Some of your job-related tasks will, by their nature, require you to multitask. You might have to reference a route survey or respond to a call from one of your teammates.

This is why it is also important to develop “situational awareness”—an awareness of what is going on around your vehicle. If you are constantly scanning the road, using your mirrors, and are aware of your vehicle’s blind spots, you will be better prepared to quickly respond to hazards such as sudden changes in the flow of traffic or objects in the road.

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