As part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Travelers offers a few tips for employers to help safeguard employee drivers against distracted driving. According to the National Safety Council, the average work-related motor vehicle injury claim costs $69,206—twice as much as other work-related injuries.
Using a cell phone is one of the top forms of distracted driving. More than two out of three drivers admitted to talking on a cell phone while driving, while one in four admits to typing or sending a text message or e-mail while driving, according to the AAA Foundation’s 2014 Traffic Safety Culture Index. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, according to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute—which at 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
Despite the prevalence of these poor driving behaviors, a recent survey of Travelers’ customers found that only 27% reported having a formal policy on distracted driving that was strictly enforced.
Travelers provides the following four tips to help businesses better protect their employees from distracted driving:
- Create Develop a formal, written policy stating the organization’s position on mobile device use and other distractions while driving. This policy should apply to everyone in the organization who drives a vehicle, regardless of their position.
- Communicate To be effective, safety policies should be communicated repeatedly. Have every employee who drives acknowledge in writing that they have read, understand, and will follow it. Then, send regular messaging to employees via e-mail, newsletters, and bulletin board postings to reinforce the policy.
- Follow Managers and office staff should lead by example. Let employees know that while they are on the road, no phone call or e-mail is more important than their safety. To further prove that point, managers and other staff should defer conversations with employees until they are safely parked.
- Promote Managers should define the safe driving practices and expected behaviors or those that drive for any business purpose. They should also take the appropriate steps to understand who is following these policies, and actively promote the desired behavior.