Question of Liability is One You’ll Want to Address
Cell phone incidents: Employers are being held liable up to $25 million for employee crashes, even when employees are using hands-free devices.
This National Safety Council white paper shows real cases and explains why employers should care. Find out more here:
The National Safety Council estimates motor vehicle crashes on and off the job cost employers $104.15 billion in 2014. The NSC estimate takes into account both tangible economic costs as well as less obvious costs associated with lost quality of life. For example, employers end up paying for some lost quality of life costs through higher wages paid to workers in high-risk jobs.
About one-third of those employer crash costs resulted from off the job injuries to workers and their dependents. In recent years, numerous plaintiffs have filed and won multi-million-dollar actions against employers for injuries arising from negligent driving of an employee who was distracted by the use of a cell phone.
What Employers Can Do
Driver distractions cost the U.S. economy $3.58 billion each month, according to a Harvard Center for Risk Analysis study. In an effort to protect employees and their finances, many employers are implementing corporate cell phone bans, which protect employees both on and off the job. Having a distracted driving policy in place doesn’t just make good safety sense; it makes good business sense.
A corporate cell phone ban might ask employees to:
- Turn off wireless phones or other devices before starting the car
- Inform clients, associates and business partners that calls will be returned when no longer driving
- Pull over to a safe location and put the vehicle in park if a call must be made
- Your staff will have many questions about a cell phone ban and the risks of distracted driving, so prepare yourself to answer them.
- Introduce your cell phone policy and emphasize how it will ensure a safe workplace. Distribute the policy and give employees time to read and react to it
- You should promote distraction-free driving all year, while building on safety events like April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Frequency of Occurrence
In Oklahoma, 11 fatal crashes, 662 injury crashes and 1,047 non-injury crashes involved a driver distracted by an electronic device (such as a cell phone) in 2016, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.
- Crashes involving a driver distracted by an electronic device were highest among drivers in the 16-25 year-old age group (45%), followed by 26-35 year-old drivers (22.7%)
- Crashes involving a driver distracted by an electronic device were highest between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7:59 p.m. — hours when many employees are returning home from work