Distracted Driving Prevention in the Workplace
As our usage of smart phones and other handheld electronics continues to increase, so too do the efforts to curb their use while driving. AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign has produced memorable videos about the implications of sending or reading text messages while driving. Who can forget the girl who texted her sister the word “yeah”—and never spoke to her again? Other initiatives such as End Distracted Driving, founded by attorney Joel Feldman and his wife Dianne, have reached hundreds of thousands of students and drivers through interactive, research-based presentations.
Trial lawyer associations across the United States have picked up the torch, creating their own statewide distracted driving initiatives. Most recently, the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys began an internal campaign to encourage its members to establish a distracted driving policy at their firms.
Distracted driving is so much more than just texting and driving. It’s any manual, visual, or cognitive distraction that prevents the driver from focusing 100% on the task at hand—driving safely. In addition to texting, these distractions can include adjusting the radio, talking to another passenger, eating or drinking, and of course, talking on the phone (regardless of whether you talk using a hands-free device or not). MATA’s distracted driving policy template, which can be viewed here, focuses primarily on the work-related distractions, such as phone calls, text messages, and email. It includes suggested commitments such as:
- Letting calls go to voicemail when driving
- If known, waiting until people have stopped driving before calling them
- Being patient and not expecting immediate responses, noting that the recipient may be driving
That’s why we’ve adopted a company-wide distracted driving policy. We strongly encourage other business owners to join the effort by instituting your own distracted driving policies.