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Protect ag drivers from distraction

April 29, 2024

New data from Nationwide’s distracted driving survey shows drivers feel a false sense of security on rural roads. Just 3% of consumers view rural areas as the most dangerous place to drive.1 Yet driving on rural roads comes with disproportionately high risk.

Rural roads account for 40% of U.S. traffic fatalities even though only 20% of Americans call these areas home.2 Plus, motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of work-related deaths in the U.S.3

Graphic for Distracted Driver Safety article.

While there are many causes of rural road accidents, staying distraction free is key. Whether your farm and agribusiness customers operate one pickup or a full fleet, a few practical tips can help minimize distraction and get them home safe at the end of the day.

What’s distracting drivers?

The same Nationwide survey reports one-third of commercial drivers admit they sometimes or often feel distracted behind the wheel. And it’s not going unnoticed. Most commercial drivers acknowledge an increase in distractions on the road.1

Commercial drivers' primary distractions chart

Steer ag drivers to safer behaviors

Safe operating procedures can help curb distracted driving and the losses it can cause. Devices like navigation systems and cell phones pose heightened risks for distraction when used while driving.Graphic for Distracted Driver Safety article.

Share these tips with your customers to help them minimize the risk:

  • Plan ahead with navigation systems. Drivers taking their eyes off the road to look at navigation screens can divert attention from what’s happening on the road in front of them. The destination should be set in the navigation system before driving away. Any adjustments to the planned route should be done while the vehicle is parked in a safe place.
  • Curb phone usage. Operating cell phones behind the wheel is a leading cause of distracted driving accidents. Encourage all operators to take steps to minimize the distractions of a cell phone while driving, including:
    • Activating the phone’s “do not disturb” function
    • Storing the phone out of reach while driving
    • Find a safe place to park before using a phone
    • Use hands-free connectivity like earpieces or Bluetooth®
    • Limit or ban all phone usage while on the roadway

Offer innovative solutions to enhance safety

Beyond responsible operator behavior, telematics can be used as a tool to help reduce distracted driving. Appointed agents can offer preferred pricing on solutions from Razor Tracking to Nationwide customers.

  • Automated route planning reduces the need for manual GPS adjustments. By having routes pre-planned and automatically adjusted for traffic and other road conditions, drivers can concentrate on driving safely.
  • Real-time tracking ensures operators are always aware of their vehicle locations without needing to distract drivers with calls or texts.
  • Alerts for driver behavior notify operators of unsafe driving practices, such as sudden acceleration or hard braking, allowing for corrective action.