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March 20, 2014

Distracted Driving Could Mean Your Life!

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Legal Issues — Tags: 6:00 am

I was reminded recently how quickly lives can change in a split-second.  While entering the parking lot of a local eatery, I watched as two school aged children one following the other ran in front of me across the parking lot to the family car.  They had plenty of time, as did I, and all was well.  As I proceeded through the parking lot, what I did not expect to see, was a third small person about 3-4 years of age, come darting out and running for all she was worth to catch up to the bigger kids.  Fortunately, I was paying attention, going slow, and not using my cell phone, all contributing to the avoidance of calamity!  I remained stopped in the parking lot just hoping mom was close behind the little one, and sure enough, she was!  I’m sure you can imagine what followed and how relieved we all were!

That scenario I lived through could have been tragic.  Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic.  In 2012, 3,328 individuals were killed in distracted driving crashes on America’s roadways; 421,000 people were injured.  Any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving is distracted driving.  You have probably seen fellow drivers eating, grooming, using a navigation system, adjusting the audio/video players, watching video players, talking to passengers, correcting children, texting, or using a cell phone.  Even bystanders are not immune to the hazards.

This topic is of great concern to employers.  Cell phone use has grown in popularity for the last couple of decades, yet many employers have not updated their “drive safe” policies to include avoiding distracted driving.  Updating employment policies to mandate that employees follow state and federal laws when driving for business purposes, whether a company vehicle or their personal vehicle, is a critical element to avoid disaster and to protect all parties.  Some employers opt for using hands-free devices, but studies have shown that headset cell phone use is not much safer than hand-held use.  An employer will want to consider their industry and their business needs before writing a comprehensive and enforceable policy.  Clear communication to employees of the expectations that they focus on driving safely, when driving is their primary task at hand, will alleviate stress and encourage employees to adhere to the safe practices the policy outlines and the law dictates.  Distracted driving by employees is your business . . . and their lives!

Need help with your employment handbook or just an individual policy?  HRN Performance Solutions has a tool for that!  HR Suite – Contact HRN consultants and they will be happy to help!



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