The stereotype of a distracted driver is often a teenager trying to stay in touch with friends on their phone. But commercial drivers and others driving for businesses can be some of the most distracted drivers. The temptation to work while driving is high, while vehicles used for business purposes can be loaded with electronics like cell phones, GPS devices, tablets, and laptops. Thus efforts by businesses to reduce distracted driving can be some of the most effective work done in this area. In Colorado, distracted drivers cause an average of 40 crashes per day. In a 2017 survey, the Colorado Department of Transportation found that over half of drivers talked on the phone during the week prior (either handheld or hands free) while 40% of drivers admitted to reading a message while driving and 25% said they sent a message while driving. According to Colorado law, it is illegal to text while driving if you are driving carelessly. If an officer observes you typing on the phone and driving in a careless manner (like speeding or veering in and out of lanes), you can be cited and fined $300. For drivers under 18, all cell phone use while driving is illegal, except to call emergency services. In Wyoming, crashes involving distracted driving have remained steady over the past few years. In 2017, there were 180 crashes in Wyoming involving drivers distracted by cellphones compared to 165 in 2016 and 180 in 2015. The other most common distractions were people and pets in a vehicle (377 crashes in 2017) and distractions outside of the vehicle (304). Like Colorado, Wyoming bans texting while driving for all drivers, but does not require that the driver also be driving carelessly. A first offense can result in a $75 fine. Texting is also a primary violation, meaning police officers can pull over drivers without any other violation occurring. Novice drivers, defined as those under 18 years old, are prohibited from all cell phone use, including hands free use. Distracted driving can be especially dangerous in Colorado and Wyoming due to our landscape. Mountain roads can be treacherous and carry a lot of commercial traffic whether that’s to reach remote communities or like with Loveland Pass to take hazardous materials around the Eisenhower Tunnel. On the plains, long stretches driving in rural areas can lure drivers into a false sense of security that they’re the only ones on the road, while the types of traffic can include different types of vehicles like tractors or other farm equipment. Business owners can help reduce the number of crashes caused by distracted driving by establishing some of these best practices for their drivers and other employees.Start by making it clear to employees that safety is most important and make sure your policies reflect that.Make sure that other company policies, like a requirement that employees respond immediately, does not conflict with policies that encourage safe driving.Use apps or enable features like Do Not Disturb to detect when employees are driving and respond automatically to let others in the business know they cannot be reached at that moment.Make sure your business’s vehicles are equipped to reduce the temptation to use technology or other distractions while driving.Consider which employees need to be reached immediately, like for emergency dispatch calls, and use technology and policies to help them respond to those communications in the safest way possible.Educate all employees, including those that only drive for you occasionally or in personal vehicles, on all the different types of distractions which can occur while driving and how to avoid them. Commercial traffic covers a lot of miles and can keep people on the road for long periods of time. By establishing a culture of safety and policies that back it up, your business can help make sure some of the people on the road the most are also some of the most focused and safest drivers. To learn how your business can save money on your worker compensation insurance and get valuable free safety training as part of the Safety Group presented by BBB and sponsored by Pinnacol Assurance, visit our information page.