‘Do as I Say, Not as I Do’, Three Ways to Resolve Clash between Behavior and Practice

   Drivers continue to subscribe to a “do as I say and not as I do” attitude, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
   AAA findings from its annual Traffic Safety Culture Index show safe driving practices and actual driver behavior often collide.
   In a survey of more than 2,000 motorists, AAA’s data indicated:
  • More than one in five (21.4%) reported they had been involved in a motor vehicle crash in which someone had to go to the hospital; 11.1% had been seriously injured in a crash themselves
  • 60.5% said they talk on a hands-free cellphone, while 49.1% talk on a hand-held cellphone
  • Drivers accept hands-free cellphone use (69%) more than hand-held cellphone use (24.6%)
   When driving, all phone use can lead to distraction. One in five crashes involves distracted driving, according to the US Department of Transportation. Inattention blindness occurs when a person’s brain is engaged in a phone conversation or with the vehicle’s infotainment system. Research shows this phenomenon can persist for as long as 27 seconds after using voice commands to make a call or send a text. That’s more than enough time to travel a couple of city blocks.
   When it comes to distracted driving, AAA survey respondents said:
  • Texting or emailing while driving is a more serious threat (96.8%) than talking on cellphones (87.7%)
  • 44.9% read a text message or email while driving in the past 30 days, and 34.6% typed or sent a text message or email
   Share these solutions at your workplace:
  1. Technology that blocks calls and texts. The most basic technologies prohibit calls or texts while a vehicle is in motion. More advanced systems are capable of blocking audio features, and tracking speed and sudden stops. Many send text or email notifications, providing helpful information for parents of teen drivers.
  2. Education. This includes consistent and ongoing traffic safety messaging. Employers are positioned to drive change through a shift in cultural norms. The same public health outcry that led to smoking bans in the workplace, at restaurants and on airplanes should be extended to distracted driving – and all forms of impaired driving. Sometimes, behavior choices are modified only after safety solutions are widely embraced. When seat belts were added as standard equipment on vehicles in the U.S., some were reluctant to use them. Today, nine out of 10 front-seat occupants buckle up.
  3. Cell phone and safe driving policies in the workplace. Behaviors learned at work often are mimicked at home. Review your policies, and make sure employees know what they are. Often, employees sign policies when they are hired or they are given an employee handbook, but they don’t take the time to read and become truly aware of policies.