Distracted Driving Awareness Part 2
While the month of April comes to a close we wanted to put out part 2 of the campaign to bring a higher level of safety and awareness to distracted driving. This section will focus more on how to prevent accidents with employees or within organizations and what we can do right away to help others stay safe.
Anyone want to guess how many accidents happen every year on the road? Almost 6 million each year happen. In 2013, there were 5,687,000. Thats more than some states population! There is serious room for improvement and keeping those we love safe.
According to the National Safety Council, they estimate that around 21% of crashes, or roughly 1.2 million crashes involved talking on handheld phones or hands-free cell phones. Along with those numbers, they estimate that an additional 6% or more crashes (341,000) involved text messaging. That is a lot of crashes. It's important to remember that even if you are not texting while driving, I'm sure we have all seen other drivers putting not only them, but others in harms way. It's important to push the standard of being safe to everyone.
The NSC has made a nice chart to break down some of the sobering numbers involving accidents:
My employee's seem safe, why should I make more rules?
Now on to what employees or organizations can do to help those working there. Motor crashes are the number one cause of work-restated death and have over 35,000 deaths each year in the US. Along with the safety concern of employee's, costs to property damage and lawsuits can range from $25,000 to millions if a fatality occurs. Every employer can face ongoing insurance fee's, lawsuits, liability, and other costs associated with accidents.
Solutions that can help:
While you make think it won't happen to you, it can and its important to implement changes now. Some examples of what organizations can do are establishing cell phone policies. Policies could state:
- Employee's are not permitted to read, respond to emails or message while driving.
- Employee's are not permitted to answer calls while driving, unless emergency calls are necessary. If 911 needs to be called, employee's should pull to side of the road or a safe space to make the call.
- Electronic devices should be stored while the vehicle is in motion. This includes built in computer or tablet devices.
- Along with driving safety, these rules should be implemented around machinery or heavy equipment.
At any time during the day, there are as many as 9% of drivers using their phones while driving. According to AAAFTS more than 2 in 3 drivers admitted to talking on a phone while driving. More than 1 in 4 report sending messages, and 1 in 3 reported having read messages while driving. And those are just the ones who admitted it. We can all assume that the actual numbers are higher.
However, even with a clear policy in place a simple poster made with MS Paint in the break room probably won't cut it. Employers and management should make clear policy language and possibly make requirement that employees directly understand the policy changes. If necessary, disciplinary action may need to be implemented.
Although not 100% fool proof, this can help to drastically reduce accidents, crashes, and lawsuits.