Distracted driving is a safety epidemic in our country. In fact, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2014 alone.
As business owners, we do our best to put employees’ safety first. But are there effective ways employers can prevent them from falling victim to distracted driving crashes? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a few simple steps can make a huge difference in employee road safety.
Enact a Company-Wide Distracted Driving Policy
The NHTSA provides a sample distracted driving policy – with the theme “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All” – that organizations can customize to suit their individual needs. The sample policy, to which it asks employees to commit by signing, suggests the following introduction:
“In order to increase employee safety and eliminate unnecessary risks behind the wheel, [Company Name] has enacted a Distracted Driving Policy, effective [Date]. We are committed to ending the epidemic of distracted driving, and have created the following rules, which apply to any employee operating a company vehicle or using a company-issued cell phone while operating a personal vehicle.”
The policy requires employees to avoid answering, engaging in or making phone calls as well as reading or responding to messages while driving. However, while cell phone use is a particularly dangerous distraction while driving, it is certainly not the only one. In its own sample safe driving policy for employers, End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org) recommends adding, “reducing or eliminating other distractions while driving, including eating, reading, programming the GPS while moving, personal grooming and other activities that take my mind off the task of driving.”
Having an enforceable policy requires employees to take responsibility for their choices on the road. As the NHTSA’s Distraction.gov site notes, “Having a distracted driving policy in place doesn’t just make good safety sense – it makes good business sense.”
Consider adopting your own company-wide policy using these samples, and you could be protecting your employees and their passengers every day.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).