How to Create a Company Distracted Driving Policy

Topics: Loss Control

Summary: Distracted driving is responsible for thousands of deaths every year, and the problem continues to grow. Distracted Driving Awareness Month is held every April to help individual recognize the dangers of driving while distracted and help reduce the number of deaths it causes. April is a great time for business owners to review their distracted driving policies with employees who drive as part of their daily duties.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

It can start off innocently enough. A cell phone buzzing with an incoming text message; a driver reaching over to pluck his phone off the passenger seat. Five seconds to read the text message from a coworker asking if a report is complete. In those five seconds the driver’s eyes are off the road, the car in front of him brakes suddenly to avoid hitting a deer darting out of the woods. Because the driver never had a chance to react to this event, he slams into that car, injuring himself and the other driver.

This type of distracted driving is all too common today. Some startling distracted driving statistics include:
  • Over 3,500 people were killed by a distracted driver in 2021
  • Every day, more than 1,000 people are injured in crashes involving distracted drivers
  • 1 out of every 4 crashes in the United States is caused by texting and driving
  • 8 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash
  • After using a cell phone, the brain needs 13 seconds to refocus on another task
  • Distracted drivers are responsible for 9 deaths every day in the United States
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which strives to unite everyone to recognize the dangers of and eliminate preventable deaths from distracted driving crashes. Distracted driving can happen all year long though - so it's important to have a distracted driving company policy in place. 

The Most Common Types of Distracted Driving

Any activity that takes the attention away from the road for any length of time is considered distracted driving. The CDC breaks the types of distracted driving into three groups:
  • Visual – taking the eyes off the road
  • Manual – taking the hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – taking the mind off driving
As described in the example above, texting and driving is one of the more dangerous forms of distracted driving. This is because it combines all three of the categories above. Visual, because the eyes are on the phone screen and not the road; manual, because one or possibly both hands are off the wheel tapping out a message to someone; and cognitive, because composing a message, even a quick reply, takes the mind off of the road ahead.

Fiddling the with stereo controls or an mp3 player, adjusting the climate, viewing the navigation system, enjoying a snack or reaching for an object in the backseat are also common types of distracted driving. In fact, even simply daydreaming and letting thoughts wander away from the task at hand, which is paying attention solely to the road, is a major form of distracted driving that is responsible for a large number of driving fatalities every year.

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Safe Driving Awareness: Does Your Company Have a Distracted Driving Policy?

Distracted driving is an epidemic that is a threat to your valued employees, their families, your business and the public. Your workers are at risk for a distracted driving accident every time they hit the road, from the moment they leave their driveway in the morning and exit the parking lot in the evening. Additionally, distracted driving puts your workers’ compensation and liability insurance policies at risk.

Along with the Department of Labor (DOL), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the National Safety Council (NSC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), OSHA, and many other organizations who have made it a mission to stop distracted driving, AmTrust recommends that companies implement a restricted cell phone distracted driving policy for all employees who drive as part of their daily duties.

OSHA reports that motor vehicle crashes cost employers $60 billion annually in medical care, legal expenses, property damage and lost productivity. With the hectic schedules many individuals keep these days, it’s common for employees to feel pressured to multi-task, taking phone calls or checking emails while on the road just to keep up with their personal and work-related responsibilities. However, by putting a restricted cell phone policy into effect, your organization can do its part in helping to prevent injuries and save lives.

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Loss Control Services from AmTrust Financial

AmTrust’s Loss Control Department understands that driving can be a universal hazard and motor vehicle crashes can have a devastating effect on an organization. We offer a variety of transportation safety resources and streaming commercial driver safety videos to ensure your employees are well-trained in safe driving practices, whether they drive personal, company or heavier commercial vehicles. For more information about our small business insurance solutions, please contact us today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact with your local RSM for more information.

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