How to Manage Inattentional Blindness in Your Fleet

How to Manage Inattentional Blindness in Your Fleet

trucking mobile appsTrucking and safety experts agree that distracted driving is one of the most risky behaviors for professional truck drivers. Distracted driving causes avoidable accidents, injuries, and deaths. Even people outside of the vehicles aren’t safe, as one out of every five deaths caused by distracted driving isn’t someone behind the wheel. They are pedestrians, cyclists, and other bystanders.

What is Inattentional Blindness?

No one disputes the hazards of distracted driving, but not everyone understands the specifics. The greatest danger of distracted driving is inattentional blindness. Inattentional blindness makes drivers less aware of their surroundings, and they can miss obvious risks. Research shows distracted drivers only see half of the cars on the road. They miss the other half of the vehicles because their attention is elsewhere. Truck drivers can’t react to these overlooked vehicles, which dramatically increases the likelihood of a collision.

Inattentional blindness has several causes, including:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone, including hands-free devices
  • Using a GPS
  • Chatting with other people in the vehicle
  • Daydreaming

Preventing Inattentional Blindness

The following are several effective strategies that help reduce distracted driving:

  • Teach defensive driving. Defensive driver training educates drivers on the dangers of distracted driving, how often it happens, and how to avoid it. Drivers also learn how to stay alert by changing their point of focus often and regularly checking their mirrors.
  • Start with onboarding new hires. Many drivers don’t fully appreciate the dangers of operating a commercial vehicle. Setting safety expectations on day one can help prevent distracted driving. Fleets can also enforce a no-phone policy while behind the wheel.
  • Continue with training. Safety training is not a one-and-done event. Drivers grow complacent over time and may forget some of their training. Regular safety training keeps drivers’ defensive driving skills sharp, teaches them about the dangers of inattentional blindness, and can save lives.
  • Lean on technology. Telematics data and video recorders provide valuable insight into drivers’ behaviors. In the event of an accident, the footage can prove if the truck driver wasn’t at fault. Video and telematics data can also identify risky behaviors, which allows fleets to focus their safety efforts on relevant hazards.

It’s impossible to remove every distraction, but trucking companies can take steps to mitigate this hazard. To learn more about reducing your trucking company’s risk, contact the experts at Interstate Motor Carriers.