Distracted Driving on the Job

Texting while driving puts millions of people who drive on the job at risk every day.  That risk continues to grow as texting becomes more widespread.  As a business owner or manager, it is YOUR legal  responsibility under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to protect your drivers on the job.  It does not matter if the employees drive full-time or only occasionally to carry out their work, and whether they drive the company vehicle on their own.  When your workers are behind the wheel doing company work, their safety is YOUR responsibility.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

  • Distracted driving crashes killed more than 3,000 people and injured 416,000 in 2010.
  • Reaction time is delayed for a driving talking on a cell phone as much as it is for a driver who is legally drunk.
  • More texting leads to more crashes.  With each additional one million text messages, fatalities from distracted driving rose more than 75%.
  • People under the age of 20 are involved in more fatal crashes due to distractions than any other age group.
  • Studies show drivers who send or receive text messages focus their attention away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.  At 55 mph, this is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded.

Source:  Occupational Safety and Health Administration

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently joined forces with the U.S. Transportation Department and other Labor Department agencies to enlist the help and cooperation of business in a nationwide outreach, education, and enforcement effort to stop the dangerous practice of texting while driving.

Safety at Work is No Accident

Building a workplace culture of safety requires clear, explicit policies and sound practices.

Employers should:

  • Prohibit texting while driving.  OSHA encourages employers to declare their vehicles “text-free zones” and to emphasize that commitment to their workers, customers, and communities.
  • Create work procedures and rules that don’t make it necessary for workers to text while driving in order to carry out their duties.
  • Set up clear times, procedures, and locations for safe use of texting.
  • Incorporate safe communications practices into your worker orientation and training.

OSHA’s distracted driving web page provides useful resources, including:

  • a model policy to use or adapt to your business
  • information about how employers are dealing with this hazard
  • research findings
  • educational materials

Video: Truck Drivers Texting While Driving Caught on Tape