New technologies are changing the landscape for limo companies. Not only can they offer new opportunities for you to get to know your customers, they can help you provide exceptional services and cutting edge convenience previously unavailable to the limousine industry. Your limo can be equipped as a mobile WiFi hotspot. You can offer broadcast television. You can operate your vehicles with onboard cameras that can help prevent fraud and show the reasons for an accident. And you can stay in touch with your limo business and home base no matter where you are.
So What Can Go Wrong?
All of these technologies can present serious distractions to limo drivers. (NHTSA) has published a study, Traffic Safety Facts 2009, which extensively reports on the most recent data available on the dangers of distracted driving. In 2009, 5,474 people were killed on U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes where distracted driving was involved. And while cell phone use, especially texting behind the wheel is the most common distracted driving behavior, distractions can be as simple as daydreaming and can include drinking a beverage, eating, smoking, using maps or GPS systems, grooming, adjusting a radio or other entertainment device and driving while fatigued. The U.S. Department of Transportation has made preventing distracted driving its mission and has a website entirely devoted to the problem.
What Should You Do?
First and foremost, keep your attention focused on your primary task – driving. Don’t make or take calls while driving. Wait until you’ve dropped off your passengers or you can safely pull over before you answer the phone. Even hands-free phones pose distraction problems, and it’s never a wise idea to give your passengers the impression that 100% of your focus is not on your driving. Don’t let passengers distract you and cause you to take your eyes off the road. You can be completely professional and still give your customers a safe and smooth ride. Your time behind the wheel is not the time for multi-tasking. Taking your eyes off the road for even three seconds is a hazard. A recent Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study revealed that almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. Don’t let yourself become a statistic because of a momentary need to take your eyes off the road. Plan ahead, be fully rested, stay vigilant and make safety your number one priority.