The Real Cost of Distracted Driving

There are few occupations more potentially dangerous than being a professional driver. Many think of driving as a relatively relaxed job. You sit, listen to music, and navigate either locally or across a large expanse day after day with no concern other than arriving safely or making your delivery.

But never forget that vehicles can be dangerous and most of America’s roads are filled with hazards. Every distraction, pedestrian, and reckless driver on the road increases the chance that your driving teams might be involved in a costly collision. Every day, drivers are run off the road, run into, or roll into danger as a result of being distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle.

In fact, distracted driving is currently the cause of approximately 25% of all current vehicle crashes and 8% of vehicular fatalities. A driver looking away from the road for a few seconds to adjust the AC or check their text messages can expose themselves and other drivers to danger. 

What makes this scenario even more likely is that drivers are often required to watch for messages, send responses, and coordinate with other drivers in order to complete the day’s work but this significantly increases the risk of distraction while on the road.

As a responsible employer, you should be aware of both the workplace hazard of distracted driving, the danger to your drivers, and the costs distracted driving can bring to your company.

Driver Care and Compensation

The first concern any business should have when an accident occurs is the welfare of your employees. Your drivers and any passengers inside your company vehicle will need to be tended to no matter how minor the incident. Additionally, if there are injuries, you can expect that will lead to missed workdays which put an additional burden on your business.  

Once the dust settles, worker’s compensation claims will need to be filed and agreements settled with your driver and your insurance company, and any additional employees who were injured in the crash. 

All told, the costs of care and compensation add up quickly and can become a financial burden to your business. 

Vehicle Damage and Repairs

The second consideration for distracted driving is the vehicle itself. If you own your business fleet, you may need to invest in replacement parts and extensive bodywork to get the vehicles back up to spec with the rest of your fleet, and this can go into many thousands of dollars in repairs, even with insurance. 

If you work with a leasing company, you could also be facing charges for damaging the vehicle and causing your lease provider to perform repairs.

If the vehicle has been totaled, this incurs an entirely new set of costs, including administrative fees to take the vehicle off your fleet roster. Then you’ll need to invest in replacing the vehicle with something new, no doubt an expense your fleet was not planning for this year.

Cargo Loss

What many also fail to consider when thinking about the costs of distracted driving is your cargo. Businesses must consider the cost impact of the potential damage to cargo in the event of an accident. 

Many businesses get so caught up in the urgency and potential drama of employee and vehicle damage that they overlook the cost of lost cargo until inventory accounting comes to call. Whether you’ll need to restock your repaired or replaced vehicle with all-new gear or soak the loss of an entire shipment, cargo losses can be significant.

Higher Insurance Premiums

Increasing insurance premiums can be a drain on any business. The fact that your auto premiums can be avoided needs to be taken into consideration. When one of your employees is involved in a crash, your insurer may have to pay out for both your employee and the other party. This will most certainly be the case if your employee was driving while distracted. 

As any owner knows, when insurance pays out on a claim, the premiums have a corresponding increase. Taking the necessary steps to avoid this can results in substantial cost savings for your business.  

The reality is that not all accidents will be avoided, but you can ensure the safety of your drivers and your business by monitoring distracted driving and protecting the value of your team and investment. Don’t leave your driver’s safety to chance.