New study reveals concrete data on the risks of distracted driving

Fleets of all sizes can benefit from incorporating route optimization software into their daily operations. Drivers of anything from heavy-duty trucks responsible for carrying industrial loads across U.S. highways to smaller automobiles used for making local food deliveries face a variety of risks. Not having a clear idea of where they're going on the road can especially complicate otherwise simple procedures. As many states continue to incorporate new traffic laws prohibiting the use of cellphones at the wheel, businesses may want to consider utilizing automated tools that eliminate distractions and improve overall safety.

Experienced drivers still prone to risks of multitasking
A new study published in the the New England Journal of Medicine found startling evidence that tasks as simple as dialing a phone can create life-threatening distractions for even the most experienced drivers. The report, titled "Distracted Driving and Risk of Road Crashes among Novice and Experienced Drivers," closely examined the effects of multitasking on groups of newly licensed individuals as well as those who have been operating vehicles for more than 20 years. Scientists used cameras, speed sensors and GPS technology to track subtle shifts in movement when drivers were attempting to perform additional tasks while behind the wheel.

According to the report's findings, dialing a number on a mobile phone increased the odds ratio of a crash or near-accident by 2.49 percent for individuals who have held licenses for more than 20 years. The Atlantic Cities said previous research had already shown veteran drivers have a harder time being distracted on the road in general. However, such interruptions boost the risk of a collision to unnecessarily high levels.

"Some cognitive psychologists say there is no such thing as dividing one's attention," Bruce Simons-Morton, a co-author of the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, toldThe Atlantic Cities. "You're either attending this or you're attending that. But it is the case that experienced drivers tend to be uncomfortable when their eyes are off the road, and they tend to look back."

With direct route software, fleet owners can make sure their drivers are as safe possible by identifying clear paths for deliveries and other transportation assignments. This way, employees won't have to rely on their own cellphones or other distractions to figure out where they're going once they're already on the road. Many of these firms have high standards for making shipments on time. However, multitasking behind the wheel isn't a shortcut worth taking. Instead, route optimization software can boost efficiency while simultaneously improving overall safety conditions.