Being an attentive and alert driver can help prevent crashes that lead to unintentional injury and death. With the rapid adoption of smartphones in the United States, distracted driving has become a hot topic in traffic safety. From 2010 – 2019 a total of 40,946 crashes were caused by distracted driving which lead to 14,018 injuries and 119 fatalities in Nebraska alone (NDOT, 2021). That’s an increase of over 30%!
Distracted driving is the act of driving while engaged in any task that takes your focus off the road – texting, talking on the phone, watching videos, reading, even passengers can be a distraction. Distracting tasks can affect drivers in different ways and can be categorized as visual, manual, and cognitive distraction.
Question of Liability
Two major implications are the safety of employees and employer liability. Allowing employees to conduct business on hands-free devices while driving is to invite a 4x increased likelihood of a crash. The risks are even higher when a driver is texting and emailing. Calculate on & off the job employer costs here! Finally, Jury awards and settlements in recent years have included amounts of 21.6 million, $18 million, $16.1 million, $5.2 million and $2 million. Juries expect employers to be aware of the risks. Otherwise, this is seen as grossly negligent.
What Employers Can Do
1. CREATE A POLICY
Develop a formal, written policy stating the company’s position on distractions while driving.
DOWNLOAD A FREE POLICY KIT
2. SCHEDULE A PRESENTATION
National Safety Council, Nebraska offers an educational presentation about distracted driving for your staff at no cost to you.
SCHEDULE A PRESENTATION
3. KICK OFF YOUR CAMPAIGN
Effective policies are communicated often and in various forms. Send regular messaging to employees via emails, newsletters, social media and training sessions to reinforce the policy.
FREE PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS
4. CONDUCT A CELL PHONE OBSERVATION
Perform an unannounced check to observe cell phone usage while driving!
CELL PHONE OBSERVATION