NAFA Issues Distracted Driving Position Statement, Adopts No-Tolerance Policy
NAFA’s Distracted Driving Position Statement can be downloaded by clicking here.
When an organization takes a stand and states certain behaviors are unacceptable, one can tell how seriously that organization honors that position by whether they themselves abide by it. NAFA Fleet Management Association, the premier association for the fleet profession, recognizes that the life blood of the job is the driver and the act of driving and that the use of electronic devices while driving is dangerous to everyone on the road.
In October 2015, NAFA issued the Association’s position statement regarding distracted driving, adopting a strong policy for all of its employees, contractors, and volunteers prohibiting the use of any electronic device – handheld or hands-free – while engaged in the act of driving.
“There cannot be any ambivalence about our position, no hypocrisy, no loopholes. We are the association for fleet professionals, and so the example has to begin with us,” said NAFA Chief Executive Officer Phillip E. Russo, CAE. “Our ‘no devices while driving’ policy has been in effect for two years, and now we are extending that insistence to our contractors and partners.”
NAFA’s proactive efforts in 2013 by instituting ‘no device while driving’ positions in their employee policy were a major first step. This next phase announces forthright intolerance of distracted driving practices not only for employees but for the entities NAFA does business with.
The use of a cell phone – either handheld or hands-free – while driving makes it four times as likely that a driver will crash, according to The National Safety Council. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a rule banning commercial truck and bus drivers from texting while driving and, by a separate rule in 2011, banned all hand-held cell phone use by commercial drivers; essentially, the fleet industry itself.
“NAFA recognizes this is a strong stance, and there may be other organizations that will not agree or abide by it, but it is the right step to take,” Russo said. “Change begins with us, and so we have chosen for this to no longer be open to discussion. It’s time to turn off the devices, focus on the task at hand, and bring safety and sanity back to our roads.”
AAA Foundation Study Reveals Dangers of Getting Less Than 7 Hours of Sleep
An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, published in early-December 2016, warns drivers who miss between one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period that they nearly double their risk for a crash.
The report, Acute Sleep Deprivation and Risk of Motor Vehicle Crash Involvement, reveals that drivers missing 2-3 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period more than quadrupled their risk of a crash compared to drivers getting the recommended seven hours of sleep. This is the same crash risk the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration associates with driving over the legal limit for alcohol.
Written by Brian C. Tefft, Senior Research Associate for the AAA Foundation, the report found that in a 24-hour period, crash risk for sleep-deprived drivers increased steadily when compared to drivers who slept the recommended seven hours or more:
- Six to seven hours of sleep: 1.3 times the crash risk
- Five to six hours of sleep: 1.9 times the crash risk
- Four to five hours of sleep: 4.3 times the crash risk
- Less than four hours of sleep: 11.5 times the crash risk
Symptoms of drowsy driving can include having trouble keeping eyes open, drifting from lanes or not remembering the last few miles driven. However, more than half of drivers involved in fatigue-related crashes experienced no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel.
35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended seven hours daily according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drowsy driving involved in more than one in five fatal crashes on U.S. roadways each year.
A PDF from this study is available at: http://publicaffairsresources.aaa.biz/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Acute-Sleep-Deprivation-and-Risk-of-Motor-Vehicle-Crash-Involvement.pdf
A MESSAGE FROM NAFA’S FLEET SAFETY ADVISORY COUNCIL
To all our fellow Fleet Professionals,
We are all concerned with the safety of our drivers and those that they interact with every day as they do their jobs in our vehicles. On average, twenty percent of our drivers will be involved in a crash or other incident in any given year. With the advent of smart phones, PDA’s, tablets, and other electronic devices, texting and phone calls while driving have placed everyone on the road at a much higher risk level than ever before.
The Safety Advisory Council wants to put NAFA at the forefront of your safety efforts by providing:
- A one-stop-shop for useful fleet safety information for our members
- A voice raised to the vehicle manufacturers, various government entities, and others to raise fleet concerns and support safety efforts
- A forum to discuss your safety-related problems and get answers
- Safety educational tools you can use for your chapter meetings
The Council will be working diligently over the next months on developing this website to be a tool for your use. We hope that you’ll visit often to see the results of our efforts. We also hope that you’ll feel free to contact us to provide feedback on what information you would like to see or even to volunteer to participate on the Council.
The Fleet Safety Advisory Council is putting together a demonstration sample of an effective safety program and policy. We are looking for material to draw from for our sample. Please submit examples to email@example.com. All submissions will be confidential and references to companies/agencies can be omitted at your discretion.
Thanks and safe driving!
Fleet Safety Advisory Council
From Patrick O’Connor, NAFA’s U.S. Legislative Counsel
Issue: NHTSA – Guidelines
Background: The U.S. Department of Transportation has released distraction guidelines that encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the distraction risk connected to electronic devices built into their vehicles, such as communications, entertainment, and navigation devices. The guidelines include a recommendation by NAFA that the guidelines not apply to law enforcement, fire, and other emergency response vehicles.
Issued by the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the voluntary guidelines establish specific recommended criteria for electronic devices installed in vehicles at the time they are manufactured that require drivers to take their hands off the wheel or eyes off the road to use them. The guidelines include recommendations to limit the time a driver must take his eyes off the road to perform any task to two seconds at a time and twelve seconds total. The guidelines also recommend disabling several operations unless the vehicle is stopped and in park, such as:
- Manual text entry for the purposes of text messaging and internet browsing
- Video-based entertainment and communications like video phoning or video conferencing
- Display of certain types of text, including text messages, web pages, social media content
NHTSA agreed with NAFA’s recommendation to exclude law enforcement and emergency response vehicles and said, “In order to respond quickly to emergencies, law enforcement, fire, and medical response personnel may need to perform tasks that might normally be locked out under the NHTSA Guidelines. The agency believes that emergency responders’ effectiveness is unlikely to be jeopardized by allowing emergency response drivers to perform certain job-related tasks.”
The recommendations outlined in the guidelines are consistent with the findings of a new NHTSA naturalistic driving study, The Impact of Hand-Held and Hands-Free Cell Phone Use on Driving Performance and Safety Critical Event Risk. The study showed that visual-manual tasks associated with hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
The study found text messaging, browsing, and dialing resulted in the longest duration of driver’s taking their eyes-off-road. Text messaging increased the risk of a crash or near-crash by two times and resulted in the driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 23.3 seconds total. Visual-manual activities performed when completing a phone call – such as reaching for a phone, looking up a contact, and dialing the number – increased the risk by three times.
The study did not find a direct increased crash risk from the specific act of talking on a cell phone. However, the manual-visual interactions involved with using a hand-held phone made its overall use 1.73 times more risky, since the use of these devices involve visual-manual tasks 100 percent of the time. Even portable hands-free and in-vehicle hands-free cell phone use was found to involve visual-manual tasks at least 50 percent of the time, which are associated with higher risk.
Status: Additional information on the guidelines is available at Phase I distraction guidelines for automakers
NAFA FLEET SAFETY ADVISORY COUNCIL
Mr. David Thompsen, CAFM®
Fleet and Facilities Manager
Matanuska Telephone Assn. Inc.
P: (907) 761-2715
F: (907) 761-1950
Ms. Deanne Radke
|Vice Chair – Regular Member
Rick Haggard, CAFM®
Fleet Project Manager City of Seattle
P: (206) 733-9487
|Vice Chair – Associate Member
Mr. Philip R. Moser
Advanced Driver Training Svcs.
|Mr. John J. Brewington Jr., CAFM®
Brewington & Company
|Robert Ellingsworth CAFM®
State of Minnesota
|Mr. John Dmochowsky, CAFM®
Sales Fleet Manager
|Rick Haggard CAFM®
Seattle City Light
|Al Thunberg CAFM®
City of Minneapolis
|Anthony Bowe CAFM®
State of Minnesota
|Mr. Patrick O’Connor
Kent & O’Connor
1531 Wilson Boulevard
Washington, DC 22209
| Ms. Jessica Brousseau
Kent & O’Connor
1531 Wilson Boulevard
Washington, DC 22209
|Ms. Deanne Radke
Assistant Division Director
King County Department of Transportation