Open Your Eyes to Risks Posed by In-Vehicle Technologies

   During your next Tailgate Talk, gather your employees in a tight semi-circle and ask them to close their eyes. Now, ask them to imagine driving to or from work in such a condition. Nobody does that, right?
   Well, today’s in-vehicle technologies can cause drivers to lose sight of the road, according to findings in a report put out by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Because placing a call or programming a GPS system can require use of touch screens or voice commands, a driver’s attention can be diverted. For an instant – maybe longer – that driver might as well be traveling down the road with his or her eyes closed.
   Distraction can be physical (eating, personal grooming, programming a navigation system) or cognitive (wrapping all of your attention in a call and not on the road). AAA evaluated infotainment systems in 40 2017 and 2018 vehicles. One finding: Programming navigation systems was the most distracting task, taking an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete.
   The takeaway: Always program your GPS before starting your trip.
   In your conversation, turn the tables. Talk about examining your own driving habits. Many believe today’s in-vehicle technologies are safe because they are provided by the manufacturer.
   Ask: How can you make an educated choice when you don’t know crucial safety information? Research indicates drivers using handheld and hands-free phones only see about 50% of all the information in their driving environment. Point out how many are fooled into a false sense of security by the “gee-whiz” feeling that comes from using the latest technology.
Crashes cost employer’s money. Three ways to address distracted driving at your work: