Published Date: 09/15/2014
By Pat Rountree
Chances are that while you are driving today you will see drivers drift across the lane, slam on brakes to avoid hitting someone or amble along while engrossed in conversation on their cell phones.
Employer safety training should include a strong message to employees who drive on company business that cell phone use is not permitted while driving. Even use of hands-free devices reduces attention to driving according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Following is a link to a sample policy from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that requires signed acknowledgement of the company’s policy and the employee’s agreement – http://j.mp/no-dd.
The National Safety Council’s 2014 Injury Report provided the following statistics on injuries related to cell phone use:
- Cell phone use is now estimated to be involved in 26 percent of all motor vehicle crashes – up from the previous year
- An estimated five percent of crashes involve texting, while 21 percent involve drivers talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones
Despite warnings and laws on cell phone use while driving, the numbers continue to rise.
State laws vary on legal use of cell phones. North Carolina’s cell phone laws prevent cell phone use while driving by drivers under age 18 and school bus drivers. Texting while driving is prohibited for all drivers. Cell phone laws for other states are located at http://bit.ly/st-c.
However, based on the statistics above, we urge you to go above and beyond the law to put employee safety first.
Violating this policy will likely not bar an employee from workers’ compensation if they are involved in an accident while on company business, but you may be able to reduce workers’ compensation costs by being proactive.