End Distracted Driving—A Leading Cause of Workplace Fatalities
Whether driving to the office or visiting clients, driving is a fact of life for today’s workforce. However, driving poses serious risks, particularly when distractions such as texting or in-vehicle technology come into play.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), eight people are killed and 1,161 are injured daily in accidents involving distracted drivers. Further, OSHA estimates that motor vehicle crashes cost employers $60 billion annually in medical care, legal expenses, property damage, and lost productivity.
Safe driving is not an accident
Given the dangers associated with distracted driving, NIOSH has created the following tips for employees to prevent distracted driving.
Before you drive…
- Get enough sleep and stay well-rested.
- Familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s safety features.
- Adjust controls such as mirrors, seat, radio, heat, or air conditioning.
- Plan your route and travel schedule.
- Record a voice mail greeting telling your callers that you are driving and will return their call as soon as you are able.
- Program directions into your navigation system and enable the voice-activated function.
- Turn off your phone when you get in your vehicle. Turn it back on when you are done driving.
- If you spend a lot of time on the road, organize your route and schedule so you can make phone calls from the parking lot of one location before driving to the next one.
While you drive…
- If your phone is on, do not text or use a hand-held phone. It is not necessarily safer to use hands-free and voice recognition devices while driving — even if your employer allows them. Pull over in a safe location if you must text or make a call.
- Do not program a navigation system while you are driving.
- Do not reach to pick up items from the floor, open the glove box, or try to catch falling objects in the vehicle.
- Avoid emotional conversations with passengers that cause anger or stress, or pull over in a safe location to continue the conversation.
- Focus on the driving environment — the vehicles around you, pedestrians, cyclists, and objects or events that may mean you need to act quickly to control or stop your vehicle.
To learn more about how to discourage distracted driving, we think you’ll find the following resources to be helpful:
- US Department of Transportation’s Distracted Driving Website
- OSHA’s Guidelines for Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) Distracted Driving at Work Guide
- Older Drivers in the Workplace: How Employers and Workers Can Prevent Car Crashes (NIOSH)
- Preventing Work-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes (NOISH)