Can Employers Prevent Workplace Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving?
Workplace accidents caused by distracted driving are a major safety problem for American employers. Bureau of Labor statistics show distracted driving is the leading cause of deaths in the workplace. The National Safety Council (NCS) estimates 25 percent of workplace auto accident deaths are caused by distracted driving.
Although any worker can be at risk, those with long commutes or frequent travel schedules are most likely to be involved in distracted driving accidents. It is especially important for commercial trucking companies, sales companies and other businesses with employees who drive regularly for work to develop anti-distracted driving policies.
The NSC has several suggestions for protecting workers from distracted driving accidents.
According to the NSC employer policies on distracted driving should be comprehensive. That means there are bans on both hands-free and handheld phones. In addition, the ban extends to all employees, not just select groups.
Policies should also ban work-related calls while workers are driving. For example, don’t let a worker join a meeting if they are driving.
Management should be in universal agreement on these policies.
Employers can also hold conferences to educate drivers on the dangers of using mobile phones while driving.
What Options Are Available to Workers Hit by Distracted Drivers?
In addition to workers compensation benefits, it may be possible to pursue third-party lawsuits against distracted drivers responsible for causing accidents. A third-party lawsuit may be possible when someone other than an employer is responsible for a work injury. The varying factors and possibilities for benefits are an important reason why injured workers should discuss options with a workers comp attorney.