Reducing Driver Distractions

Every day over 150,000 drivers travel through cities, communities and neighborhoods to collect our garbage.

Making sure they do so safely is everyone’s number one priority.

Safe driving is largely dependent on limiting driver distractions. In 2010, more than 3,000 people were killed and over 400,000 injured because of distracted driving. Nearly 20 percent of all injury crashes in 2010 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.

It stands to reason that reducing driver distractions is essential for all waste fleet safety programs.

Types of driving distractions

The DOT describes distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.’’

It further indicates that driving distractions can manifest themselves in four distinct ways: Visual, Manual, Cognitive and Auditory distractions.

Fleet management technologies address the four types of distractions

Advanced onboard fleet management systems are now designed to make it easier and faster for drivers to account for their full day with a minimum of distractions.

  1. Reducing visual distractions
    New fleet management systems are designed to be hands-free. They are also typically installed ergonomically in the cab to provide quick visual references for route or customer information. No more paper work; no more manual processes. Drivers can now focus on the road.
  2. Reducing manual distractions
    Drivers need to keep their hands on the wheel as much as possible. Onboard fleet management systems are typically 90 percent automated. This means that the driver rarely needs to touch the screen. Indeed, if the truck is in motion, most smart displays will not allow a driver to interact with the screen.
  3. Reducing cognitive distractions
    Drivers need to keep their mind on what they’re doing. By providing them with audible driving directions, they can focus on their routes and on driving safely.  Driver direction technologies automatically provide driving directions to the truck’s next stop based on run sheet data.
  4. Reducing auditory distractions
    Onboard fleet management technologies can provide drivers with automatic voice directions to keep them focused on turn-by-turn directions. Further, they can set audible alarms to alert them of any issues. For example, they can set an alarm that will ping when certain speed or idling thresholds are exceeded.

No more cell phones

Research indicates that driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of associated brain activity by 37 percent. That’s a huge distraction from the task at hand! Waste collection vehicles should never make a driver rely on mobile phones for back office or dispatch communications. Onboard computing solutions are built on bilateral communications to eliminate any cell phone requirements. All communications are conducted via the touchscreen display. Some of the newest driver display units even feature VoIP capabilities for interactive voice communications.

No more texting

VTTI research indicates that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times greater than driving while not distracted. Onboard computing solutions will now force a driver to be stationary for any textual communications. A driver can enter text messages via the touchscreen when required, but he won’t be able to do so if his vehicle is in motion.

No more paperwork

Transitioning from a paperwork-driven to paper-free environment is critical to reducing driver distractions. A capable onboard fleet and route management system will ask less of driver and deliver better data on a real-time basis.

A more focused driver experience

Distracted drivers make mistakes. Mistakes cause accidents.

Removing or reducing distractions for waste fleet drivers means allowing them to focus on what’s important: the driving and servicing of their routes in the safest manner possible.


“Waste Fleet Safety – Reducing Driver Distractions”

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