Devices and drugs. They both impair drivers and both have proliferated to the point where they contribute to the majority of serious accidents in the U.S. As marijuana legalization sweeps across the country and opioid use and abuse has developed into a national epidemic, fleet managers are faced with addressing the growing trend of risky behaviors that compromise drivers’ ability to operate their fleet vehicle safely. The trends are disturbing, but training, monitoring, and creating a safety minded culture with clearly defined policies and incentives make a difference.

It may seem overly dramatic to associate distracted driving and drugged driving, but a number of recent studies found that drivers talking on a hands-free mobile device displayed the same level of impairment as driving under the influence. Some studies found that it was actually worse. If you are driving 55 miles per hour and take your eyes off the road for five seconds to read a text or find contact information, that is the same as driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. Accidents happen when drivers are not clearly focused on the road, and making sure that drivers feel the weight of responsibility to operate safely requires consistent reinforcement.

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