By Erin Dougherty Foley and Craig B. Simonsen
In a DOL blog posted last week we learn that driving-related crashes are the number one workplace killer.
Remember … we’ve warned against driving and phone usage before. “Employees Using Cellphones And Other Portable Devices While Driving: Should Employers Ban This Completely?”, and “Employees Driving In Illinois? What Employers Need to Know”.
The DOL blog, prepared by Deborah Hersman, the CEO and President of the National Safety Council, estimates that cell phones are involved in approximately 26 percent of all driving crashes. While reminding everyone that April is “Distracted Driving Awareness Month,” the NSC stressed that “more than 30 studies show hands-free devices are no safer because the brain remains distracted by the conversation. When talking on a cell phone, drivers can miss seeing up to half of what’s around them, such as traffic lights, stop signs and pedestrians.” (Put the phones down, people‼)
In light of the statistics and the real-life dangers, and as we have previously noted, a number of Fortune 500 companies have already voluntarily adopted complete cellphone-bans for their employees while driving. While employers may be concerned that these bans may impact productivity, the Vice President for Safety at Owens Corning has previously stated that “our position is, quite simply, that we don’t make safety decisions based on productivity.”
To the extent that your organization involves employees that are required to drive vehicles in their job duties, a cellphone company-wide policy may both help to limit corporate liability for accidents that occur, and save the lives of your employees and others on the road.
If you have any questions about this new “free cell phone policy kit” or policies related to banning distracted driving, please contact the authors, a member of Seyfarth’s Workplace Policies and Handbooks Team, or your Seyfarth attorney.