DISTRACTED DRIVERS CAN BE AS DANGEROUS AS DRUNK DRIVERS!
By Lillian Romero
The U S Department of Transportation reports that the use of cell phones while driving plays a role in 1.6 million auto crashes each year. The University of Utah recently published a study showing that motorists who talk on handheld or hands-free cell phones are as impaired as drunk drivers! Clearly, the best option is to not use a cell phone while driving, but this is easier said than done. Why do people drive distractedly? Most people feel that they are skilled enough to multi-task safely, which is a false assumption. The following are some safety tips to help your driving exposure:
1. Be Aware: There are three types of distraction: manual (taking your hands off the steering wheel), visual (taking your eyes of the road), and cognitive (not focusing on driving). Cell phone use can cause all three types of distraction. Every staff member (or volunteer) who drives on your behalf needs to understand these distractions.
2. Take Responsibility: Examine your driving habits and eliminate all distractions, including eating, grooming or dealing with non-driving functions, while behind the wheel. The use of phone apps can also reduce cell phone distractions.
3. Workplace Safety: Management should encourage everyone to drive safely by implementing the following best practices:
- Create and enforce a policy for cell phone use while driving.
- Train employees on local cell phone use laws and how they can best handle cell phone distractions while driving.
- Use cell phone apps to limit usage while driving.
- Apply cell phone use policies whether employees are in their own vehicles or company owned vehicles while driving for business purposes.
- Check with your insurance carrier about on-line distracted driver training courses to help educate your staff. Many insurance carriers offer free webinars as part of their loss control programs.
Vehicle crashes are the number one cause of workplace deaths. Implementing effective safety practices will go a long way toward a safe work environment and will also save you costs on your insurance premiums. Auto accidents can impact your workers’ compensation, general liability, business auto, non owned auto liability, accident and health benefits. If you need further information on distracted driving, contact Kevin@bakerromero.com. We are here to help.
*This is intended for informational purposes only and are encouraged to have your legal counsel review all of your plans and company policies.