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The construction industry presents unique challenges for drivers and fleet managers to tackle. With the overall employment of construction equipment operators, including drivers, expected to grow 10% by 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, being aware of these risks is paramount. Driver safety and the safety of everyone on the site must be prioritized for obvious reasons, not the least of which are preventing injury, avoiding delays in project timelines and reducing expenses associated with collisions and lawsuits.

Construction fleet drivers often have limited professional driver training and, frequently, driving is not the primary focus of their role. Accordingly, it’s vital these individuals have access to the best tools available to keep themselves, their colleagues and others safe on and around jobsites.

Increasingly, the industry is turning to technology to help. Specifically, many construction fleets are investing in a video-based safety program, providing peace of mind while saving time and money. Construction fleet managers cite video-based safety technology and coaching programs as valuable resources to improve driving performance and reduce onsite injuries that could lead to OHSA reports and audits resulting in fines.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

 With a fatal injury rate of 15.1 per 100,000 workers, a recent study listed construction work as the 13th deadliest job in America. The combination of heavy equipment, unique work environments, pedestrians and a myriad of potential distractions no doubt factor into this daunting statistic. Distracted driving is just one of many risk factors that drivers and construction managers alike must keep top of mind.

Without signals and stop signs, traffic on a construction site is typically directed by workers, making it critically important that drivers pay attention to their surroundings. A split second of inattention or distraction could impede reaction time. In this environment, seconds mark the difference between successfully bringing a heavy load to a safe stop and a collision. Additionally, due to the nature of construction sites, backing is a common occurrence. It is imperative that drivers pay attention to their surroundings as to not cause collisions with ground workers directing traffic or moving materials as they back the trucks up.

The size and weight of construction vehicles adds to the risk factors, compounding the potential implications of distracted driving. When navigating on/off ramps, sharp turns and steep inclines, a knee-jerk reaction to avoid an impact can quickly result in an altered center of gravity and lead to a tragic roll-over event. If preoccupied by mobile phones or other devices, drivers are 88% more likely to be involved in a near-collision. An absent-minded driver is also at risk of lane drifting, which is compounded when a vehicle drifts off the path on soft ground or unpaved roads, which can also result in rollovers and other dangerous incidents.

Due to the complexities of construction sites, drivers face additional distractions and therefore, must pay extra attention and adhere to safety policies. These often busy and complex work environments with unmarked roadways, pedestrians and equipment moving in different directions, and materials on the ground that pose risks. Further, these sites are often congested and loud. Given these realities, drivers must always be on their A-game and, with the help of technology, managers can coach their drivers to be the best they can be.

How to Mitigate Distracted Driving

Investing in a video-based safety program will help managers identify high-risk driving behaviors, intervene and coach drivers to improve, and prevent incidents. This is key to keeping drivers and materials safe, as well as avoiding costly collisions. Pairing a video-based safety program with advanced analytics allows managers to glean valuable insights into drivers’ behaviors, proactively preventing collisions through coaching and effectively exonerating drivers if a collision occurs.

Typically, after one year of using a video-based safety program with a managed service, construction and ready-mix fleets see a 70% reduction in distracted driving overall. Specifically, a 65% reduction in cell phone use, 52% reduction in close following and 71% reduction in drowsy driving. Cost savings associated with fewer claims and fewer instances of damaged cargo and materials are additional benefits association with adopting a video safety platform.

Risky driving behaviors can be a matter of life or death, particularly on crowded construction sites with heavy machinery and equipment. In this industry, it is imperative that all preventable dangerous behaviors be identified, addressed and corrected. Distracted driving is avoidable; that’s why investing in reducing risky driving behaviors saves time, money and lives.


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