Stacy Emert sees distracted driving from a different perspective to most road users. That’s because she’s a motorcyclist and is on high alert to the actions of car drivers. As co-partner at InAlign Partners, a participant in The Risk Institute initiative and a member of the Delaware (Ohio) Teen Driving Task Force, Emert regularly interacts with road users of all types and all ages and is helping to change attitudes towards distracted driving.
Emert spoke with Three60 recently to share the activities of the organizations named above and to provide an insight into distracted driving from a motorcyclist’s perspective.
“Motorcyclists today, in our current driving environment, are more vulnerable than ever,” said Emert. “Even if you are doing everything right, you cannot stop someone who is distracted and is not aware that they are not in their lane, or hits a curb and over corrects, or quite simply never sees the red light or stop sign.”
Mirrors are an important safety feature that help drivers to see other road users – including motorcyclists – as they approach, said Emert. Yet, in her opinion, “Most drivers do not even know how to use or position mirrors, so that ensures they aren’t aware of you there. As a motorcyclist, you have to be on super high alert and just assume no one can see you.” Emert said she encounters many examples of distracted driving every day, on both her motorcycle and while driving her car. “I don’t feel safe in my car; much less a motorcycle,” she said.
The Risk Institute initiative is a national collaborative initiative between dozens of companies, organizations and government entities. Its approach is helping to affect change in legislation, behavior, technology and urban planning. “Distracted driving is a complex societal issue,” said Emert, whose role as Team Leader of the Behavior Group closely aligns with her work at InAlign Partners, which focuses on business strategy, leadership and team development.
“Companies inside and outside of The Risk Institute are implementing cell phone bans and enforcing distracted driving policies,” Emert said. “This means that the corporate world is understanding driving risk and its responsibility to keep associates safe while at work.” For employers concerned that preventing phone use while driving would impact on productivity, the concerns are unfounded, said Emert. “I do believe that the loss of productivity has been proven not true,” she said. “We cannot be truly engaged in any one thing when we are trying to perform two tasks at once.”
Emert’s work with the Delaware Teen Driving Task Force involves engaging parents and teens to educate and provide better tools to prepare teens for driving. “We are working with the county judges, law enforcement and teen defensive driving schools. We’re trying to get to teens early to help forge a culture of safety.”
It’s Emert’s hope that this culture will stay with drivers from their teen years throughout their driving lives. “Unless using your phone as a GPS or emergency call, in an ideal world, the phone would not be in use ever,” she said. “Yet until it becomes socially unacceptable, all of us will have our eyes up, phone down, watching out for distracted drivers and hope it’s not a day to die.”
eDriving has tips to prevent distracted driving along with best practice advice for many other driving situations today’s motorists face. See all of our guides here.