Driving Safety – Distracted Driving Classified as Epidemic

15 Jun

Distracted driving, whether drivers are using cell phones on the road, “texting while driving” or otherwise not paying attention to their driving, has become so much a problem that the US Dept. of Transportation and Federal OSHA have combined to launch a new distracted driving initiative. 

An you as an employer, or a driver on our roads, should join in and help. Millions of workers’ jobs require them to spend part or all of their work day driving ― visiting clients and customers, making site visits, or delivering goods and services, or just commuting to work. 

The human toll is tragic. DOT reports that in 2009, more than 5,400 people died in crashes linked to distraction and thousands more were injured. “Texting while driving” has become such a prominent hazard that 30 states now ban text messaging for all drivers. In 2010  an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. 

In the month of June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the US, up nearly 50% from June 2009. 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger.  Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. 

Employers need to 1- adopt clear policies prohibiting distracted driving when employees use company vehicles or drive on company business; and 2- should include driver education as part of their safety training. 

Resources are available:  See the US. Dept. of Transportation site: www.distraction.gov  or Federal OSHA at www.osha.gov/distracted-driving/index.html.  The National Safety Council also has resources.  I can help, just email me at: DonDressler1@hotmail.com

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