DON’T BLAME MILLENNIALS, DISTRACTED DRIVING IS AGELESS
Overall, driving is the most dangerous work activity that most people do, and it contributes to far more work- related accidental deaths and serious injuries than all other work activities, according to an international watchdog. In New Zealand, accident management and collision repair service Crash Management, notes that 30 percent of New Zealand’s road accidents are work- related, including 31 fatalities last year.
New international research which suggests Generation X – that’s those born early-to- mid 1960s to the early 1980s – is more likely to use their phone when driving than younger generations, may have implications for road safety in New Zealand – according to an industry expert.
Volvo’s New Zealand GM Coby Duggan says distracted driving is a significant issue around the world and while it is often attributed to a younger, tech savvy age group, a new US report by the carmaker has found Generation X (the parents of Generation Z) are the most prevalent distracted drivers.
Latest Ministry of Transport figures indicate that each year over 100 Kiwi drivers involved in crashes resulting in fatality or injury contributed to the accident through being distracted by a cellphone.
Duggan says the Ministry’s data also shows that for every 100 New Zealand drivers or riders who died in road crashes where diverted attention was a contributing factor, 85 passengers and another 100 road users also lost their lives.
“Distracted driving is a significant issue on our roads and is a contributing factor in around eight percent of fatal crashes in this country. Like the US, this issue is evident across generations and affects all road users – including motorists, pedestrians and cyclists,” he says.
Duggan says many of those surveyed in the Volvo research felt there are more driving distractions today than there were five years ago. More than half of those surveyed (55 percent) say the top threat to safety on the road is driving distracted, compared to driving under the influence (31 percent).
ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE RESEARCH INCLUDED:
• Gen-X and Millennials consistently outpace Zs in phone usage across multiple activities.
• Parents are primary culprits of using their phones behind the wheel ( 73 percent vs. 66 percent overall).
• One in three parents admits to using their phones often when their children are with them in the car.
• Many (64 percent) are looking for ways to cut down on the distractions; among Gen-Z that number rises to 89 percent
• 33 percent of those surveyed drive in silence to minimise distractions and 32 percent turn their phone onto “do not disturb” to eliminate notifications.
• 89 percent of respondents feel we need better education around the impact of distracted driving.
The MoT reports that in 2016, diverted attention was identified as a contributing factor in a total of 1,097 crashes (11 percent of all crashes), of which 17 were fatal crashes, 172 were serious injury crashes, and 908 were minor injury crashes. These crashes resulted in 22 deaths, 210 serious injuries and 1,209 minor injuries. The total social cost of crashes involving diverted attention was about $ 333 million, which is approximately 8 percent of the social cost associated with all casualty crashes.
Over the years 2014 to 2016, ‘attention diverted by’ for drivers was a factor in 12 percent of all casualty crashes, 8 percent of fatal crashes, 9 percent of serious injury crashes and 12 percent of minor injury crashes. Seventy percent of the fatal crashes, 49 percent of the serious injury crashes and 36 percent of the minor injury crashes occurred on the open road (speed zones 80km/ h and over).
Employees are Employer’s responsibilities when an employee drives a vehicle at work
Employers must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees while they are at work. This includes when they are in, or operating a vehicle for work purposes. An employer must also make sure that all employees are trained and supervised so that they can do their work duties safely. This means: Employers making sure that any vehicle used for work purposes is:
• Roadworthy and warranted
• Adequately and appropriately insured.
• Loaded and used only within its specified capability. For example, if a vehicle is badly loaded a driver’s vision could be impaired or they could be hurt by cargo. Employers making sure that employees operating a vehicle:
• Have the appropriate driver’s licence class.
• Can drive effectively at the time, for example, they’re not fatigued or affected by alcohol or drugs.
• Comply with driving hours restrictions for heavy vehicles.
• Comply with the conditions of their driving licence, for example, wearing glasses.
• Complete logbooks accurately and fully.
• Comply with vehicle loading and other safety requirements.
• Have enough time to do the task safely.
• Are physically capable of doing the task. The New Zealand Transport Agency has a free publication that employers can use as a base to develop a safe driving policy.
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