Don’t run risk of being driven to distraction

File photo dated 25/04/07 of a Tom Tom satellite navigation system attached to a car windscreen. Alm

File photo dated 25/04/07 of a Tom Tom satellite navigation system attached to a car windscreen. Almost half of motorists are seriously distracted by in-car technology while driving, an RAC survey showed today. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Issue date: Tuesday October 14, 2008. The distraction rate for 17-24-year-olds, is as high as 55%, with radios and CDs the things that cause drivers to lose concentration the most.Around a third of all drivers are seriously distracted by satnav and by mobile phones, with 35% being put off by heating and air conditioning controls. See PA story TRANSPORT Distractions. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Brake, the road safety charity, has published a guidance pack for fleets on tackling driver distraction.

Produced by Brake's fleet safety forum, the pack includes a survey report, best practice guidance for managers and an advice sheet for drivers, and is available for free to organisations that register for Road Safety Week later this month.

The guidance includes expert advice delivered at a recent Brake webinar on tackling driver distraction with sponsorship from Romex, and the advice sheet provides practical tips for drivers on how they can avoid distraction. They are published alongside the results of a recent Brake survey of fleet managers, sponsored by Licence Bureau, focusing on how fleets are tackling this risk.

Driving is the most dangerous thing many of us do regularly and needs full concentration. Distractions such as mobile phones are proven to severely impair driving ability. In-vehicle technology such as sat-navigation systems can also cause fatal distractions – there have been cases of cyclists and pedestrians being hit by drivers who were fiddling with their sat-navs instead of watching the road.

Encouragingly, 98% of fleets surveyed take some form of action on mobile phone risk, including educating drivers on the risks (58%) and banning all mobile phone use at the wheel (28%). However, of fleets with sat-navs fitted, less than half (48%) require drivers not to adjust these while driving.

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The resources are part of a pack for employers on driver distraction, available for free to companies that sign up for Road Safety Week.

Road Safety Week is the UK's biggest road safety event, co-ordinated annually by Brake and involving thousands of organisations, schools and communities. This year it takes place from November 18 to 24, with headline sponsors Romex and Specsavers, with the main theme being 'tune in to road safety'.

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Fleet managers are being encouraged to run activities during the week to promote key messages about avoiding distractions while at the wheel by, for example:

A campaign encouraging staff and customers to make Brake's pledge on using roads safely, through email bulletins or online.

Including a road safety feature in your newsletter, intranet or website.

Making a road safety display using free posters from your e-action pack or by ordering additional resources from the Brake shop or sponsoring a giant Road Safety Week banner for your community.

Running safe driving presentations for employees. Get trained to do this at Brake's pledge training courses.

Teaming up with local educators or community groups to run awareness-raising events or activities, such as Bright Days.

Roz Cumming, professional engagement manager at Brake, said: 'Distraction at the wheel can have devastating consequences. These resources highlight the danger distracted drivers pose to themselves and other road-users, and give clear guidance on the steps fleet managers can take against this risk.'

Les Owen, from Licence Bureau, said: 'Those responsible for drivers at work know of the risks of distraction, yet so many are not doing simple things that can prevent collisions. We recommend introducing checks on what drivers are doing while driving, followed up by management action and communication to staff. This will help ensure all drivers in the company are aware of what can happen if they are distracted at the wheel.'

If you have already registered for Road Safety Week contact Brake to request these additions to your e-action pack on or telephone 01484 559909.

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