Guest blog post courtesy of United Fire Group (UFG) Insurance.
Distracted driving is a growing epidemic, and a special concern in industries that have employees who spend their workday behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, the idea that drivers can multi-task on the road—calling customers, checking in with the home office, or catching up on voicemails— has led to the belief that hands-free devices and apps are a safe alternative to using a regular cell phone, but that is far from the truth. In fact, several studies recognized by the National Safety Council (NSC) show that hands-free devices are no safer than handheld phones, as the brain remains focused on a cell phone conversation over the main task of driving.
So what can business owners do to ensure the safety of their employees when their job involves driving?
Start by creating—and enforcing—a company distracted driving policy. While policies can be tailored to your own specific needs, consider including these rules and guidelines in a policy:
■ Keep cell phones and hands-free devices off while the vehicle is moving. Set voicemail to handle your calls and return them when safe.
■ If you need to place a call or a text, pull off the road to a safe location and stop the vehicle before using your phone.
■ Inform regular callers of the best time to reach you based upon your driving schedule. Modify voicemail greetings to indicate that you are unavailable to answer calls or return messages while driving.
■ Install a cell phone motion app that disables a phone when it detects motion.
Once you have created a policy, require employees to review and sign it. If you’re starting from scratch with a new policy, make it an event: hold a company-wide meeting to talk about the dangers of distracted driving, the ramifications for the company, and most importantly, the consequences for an employee has driven while distracted. After the presentation, have pledge sheets ready for employees to review and sign.
Not sure where to start? UFG Insurance can help in the creation and implementation of a distracted driving policy. Contact us and we’ll arrange for a loss control representative to present an informative distracted driving presentation to employees. We can also help you draft a policy that’s tailored to your own company’s needs. Visit www.ufgWorthIt.com for more information on our distracted driving educational program. Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 855-876-3343.