Driving Safety

May 20, 2020

Driving safely requires a driver’s full and undivided attention. Activities that divert attention from driving impair the driver’s ability to observe dynamic traffic and road conditions and react to potential hazards. Distracted driving may not directly cause an accident, but it can slow reaction time and cause a driver to miss important visual cues – greatly diminishing a driver’s ability to avoid or prevent a crash.

Employees who use their cell phones while driving subject themselves and others to a significant safety risk. Employers who expect (or permit) employees to use phones for work-related communications while driving must recognize their involvement and connection to increased crash risk for their employees and the financial and safety risks created by the use of these devices while driving. Very few employers (if any) would deliberately and knowingly expose their employees to increased risk of injury within their workplace; however, employers routinely endanger employees by permitting and encouraging smart phone use while driving.

As driving is a safety-critical task, employers who require or allow employees to conduct business in motor vehicles should establish policies and best practices to support driver attentiveness at all times, regardless of whether the business drivers are operating heavy over-the-road vehicles or occasionally operate passenger cars. Employers should consider the following policies and performance expectations to reduce driver distraction:

  • Implement and enforce a policy to prohibit any use of mobile devices when the vehicle is in motion. (One exception is the navigation system; however, destination information should only be entered when the vehicle is stationary.)
  • Establish a policy that requires drivers to safely stop out of traffic when responding to or initiating an e-mail or responding to or initiating a phone call.
  • Establish a policy requiring managers to actively promote and encourage subordinates to avoid initiating or responding to cell phone calls to co-workers, supervisors, and customers.
  • Implement mandatory integration of Do Not Disturb modes or other smartphone apps to disable text or call features while driving.
  • Require / provide hands-free cell phone interfaces while emphasizing that hands-free devices do not mitigate driver distraction.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a guarantee of coverage and should not be used as a substitute for an individualized assessment of one’s need for insurance or alternative risk services. Nor should it be relied upon as legal advice, which should only be rendered by a competent attorney familiar with the facts and circumstances of a particular matter. Copyright Beecher Carlson Insurance Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved.