The MCAA is continuing efforts to educate members about the risks of taking your eyes - or mind - off the road with the Distracted Driving Reduction and Prevention Guide.

The guide defines distracted driving and uses statistics to demonstrate why contractors should be concerned.

“The U.S. Department of Transportation statistics on distracted driving are pretty alarming,” said Tom Skaggs, chairman of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America’s Safety and Health Committee and vice president of safety for the Murphy Co.

He cited 2009 government statistics about the problem.

“More than 5,400 people died in crashes linked to distracted driving, and thousands more were injured in those crashes,” Skaggs said.

The guide tells contractors to implement a written policy and training to combat distracted driving, and consider using technology to reduce the problem.

“MCAA and MSCA (Mechanical Service Contractors Association) recommend that mechanical industry employers take steps to help reduce distracted driving in their companies,” said MCAA Director of Safety and Health Pete Chaney. “MCAA’s Safety and Health Committee believes that following the recommendations in the new Distracted Driving Reduction and Prevention Guide will make your workers, whose job descriptions include driving, cognizant of the hazards associated with distracted driving, and reduce the risk of accidents related to distracted driving.”

Skaggs agreed.

“The bottom line is the human brain is completely incapable of multitasking,” he said. “The better job we do of educating contractors, the better it is for everyone who’s out there on the road.”