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December 20, 2011

Are You Still Texting and Driving?!

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Management Practices10:07 am

Last fall, I wrote a blog about the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety’s Drive Safely Work Week during the first week of October.  Although I do not have a company-provided mobile device and do not travel for work, I do have a personal mobile device.  Does your company have a mobile device use policy in place?  More importantly: is it being enforced at all levels of the company?

Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) met to discuss an accident report related to an August 2010 collision involving two school buses, a bobtail, and a passenger vehicle.  The end result of the accident included two fatalities and 35 injured.  The NTSB investigation concluded that weather, drugs or alcohol, mechanical condition of the vehicles, and highway design were not to blame in the accident.  The most likely cause: the driver of the passenger vehicle had been sending text messages at or near the time of the collision.

Among its other recommendations, the NTSB recommends the following:

(1)    Ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers;

(2)    Use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration model of high visibility enforcement to support these bans; and

(3)    Implement targeted communication campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and enforcement, and to warn them of the dangers associated with the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices while driving. (H-11-XX)

Don’t wait for your state to implement a ban, create and enforce a mobile device use policy that is applied to all employees.  Here are some tips:

  • Ban texting and emailing while driving, unequivocally.
  • Consider a total ban on cell phone use while driving, per the NTSB recommendations.  Be sure your wording is clear that you are banning all cell phone usage while driving.  If you opt not to implement a ban, require employees to use hands-free technology and ban usage during dangerous situations such as adverse weather or high traffic.
  • Explain employee liability, including a statement that employees bear sole liability from tickets or accidents arising out of cell phone use while driving.

More information:

NTSB Press Release

Additional Source: HRLaws.com

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