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Work Accidents, Cell Phone Policies & Distracted Driving in 2014

Cell phone distracted driving policies help employers keep employees safe and also protect bottom lines, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Some employers have realized the dangers of cell phone use while driving and are taking action by passing policies to prevent cell phone distracted driving.

In fact, this is becoming the norm as it is nearly impossible for an employer to claim ignorance of the risks driving distraction plays in the road — particularly if employees are required to stay in touch while on the road for work. Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of workplace death and No. 1 cause of death for people
ages 1 to 35, accounting for about 40,000 deaths each year in the United States. Beyond concern for the safety of employees, crashes are also costly to employers. An on-the-job crash costs an employer more than $24,000, rising to more than $125,000 if the crash involves injury. All employers face ongoing liability, insurance, productivity and absenteeism costs.

Our car accident attorneys in Miramar understand that many drivers think they can handle distracted driving. They think that they’re skilled enough behind the wheel to handle tasks other than driving. And they couldn’t be farther from the truth. Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a motorist engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving. Stressful jobs, busy lifestyles and technology advances are just a few of the reasons why individuals may engage in distracted driving activities. When motorists engage in distracted driving — it increases the likelihood of motor vehicle incidents and crashes.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) banned commercial truck and bus drivers from texting while driving in September 2010, and later banned all hand-held cell phone use by commercial drivers in November 2011.

But many other driving workers are not affected by these laws, and that’s why federal safety officials are urging companies across the country to adopt cell phone policies.

A strong company policy for driving safety is imperative for reducing the risks of on-the-job driving accidents. Not only guidelines for employees while they are driving company vehicles, but also regular safety awareness seminars/campaigns/training for all employees who travel on company time. Guidelines, rules, and awareness campaigns should stress the importance of giving driving 100 percent of the attention while the vehicle is in gear. Ideally, multitasking of any kind should be discouraged and outright prohibited, including hands-free devices.

When officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) receive a credible complaint that an employer requires texting while driving or who organizes work so that texting is a practical necessity, they will investigate and where necessary issue citations and penalties to end this practice.

As it stands now, 34 states and the District of Columbia have banned texting on the roadways; now OSHA is doing its part in the workplace. Florida is not one of them.

And employers don’t worry about productivity loss. Officials with the NSC found that a mere 1 percent of employers with cell phone distracted driving policies saw a productivity decrease.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, contact Freeman Injury Law for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-561-7777.

More Blog Entries:

Speed Blamed for Fatal Coral Springs Traffic Collision, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, January 4, 2014

South Florida Brain Injuries: Concussions No Minor Matter, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, December 13, 2013

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