For this week’s proposal I looked at a business corporation source for more information on distracted driving. My first proposal looked at the government sponsored campaigns and policies that have been instituted to try and address the issue of distracted driving, in particular texting and driving. My second proposal focused on a think tank called Pew Research Center that produced several reports on the impacts of texting in the United States and the percentage of adults and teens who have used a cell phone while driving. This source was very helpful in understanding the severity of the problem and the fact that many adults text and drive.
That information led me to the idea of looking into company policies that could be instituted to prevent adults from using cell phones or being distracted while driving. I found a report by Ohio Casualty Liberty Mutual Group which is a regional insurance company that works exclusively with independent insurance agents to offer business insurance products and services.. They produced a report with more statistics on the danger of distracted driving, in addition to advocating for company policies. The insurance company even provided a template for company policies against distracted driving. Below is a further explanation of the information the source provided.
The source included facts about distracted driving such as:
- Distracted driving was reported in 20% of injury crashes in 2009.
- 18% of fatality crashes related to distracted driving involved cell phone use.
- Use of either a hand-held or a hands-free cell phone increases a driver’s reaction time to the same degree as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent.
The report went on to explain that a study of company vehicle fleet crash rates showedthat the top safety performing companies were those with policies that prohibit the use of both handheld and hands-free cell phones. The policies of these companies included significant consequences for employees who violate them. The study, sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety and released in late 2010, covered 45 companies with a total of 400,000 vehicles that traveled about 8 billion miles. With this information the Ohio Casualty Liberty Mutual Group provided a sample company driver distracted policy seen below:
Sample Company Driver Distraction Policy
<Company Name> Policy on Distracted Driving
The dangers of distracted driving are a serious concern to <Company Name>. Recent news reports of deadly crashes involving distracted drivers highlight a growing danger on our roads. Because of this concern, we have established this policy to protect the safety of our employees, the safety of the general public, and our Company’s assets and reputation.
The following activities, while driving on company business, are prohibited:
• Answering or making phone calls;
• Engaging in conversations using phones, two-way radios or other communication devices;
• Creating, reading or responding to e-mails and/or text messages;
• Entering information into an electronic navigation system (GPS), computer, dispatch device or other electronic device which requires the user to enter information; and
• Use of headphones, earphones, or similar to listen to radio, MP3 players, CD players or other entertainment devices.
The following requirements apply to all employees and managers of <Company Name>:
• A vehicle being driven on company business must be parked in a legal and safe location before placing or answering a phone call, reading or responding to e-mails/text messages or similar.
• No calls are to be made or text messages sent to employees who are driving or likely to be driving by another employee or manager of the company unless an emergency requires immediate contact.
• Employees or managers receiving calls from other employees who are, or are likely to be, driving are to ask if they are driving and if so, asked them to call back when they are safely parked.
• Addresses or other information must be entered into a navigation or dispatch device prior to putting the vehicle into motion.
• Before starting the vehicle, all objects in the vehicle are to be secured, placed on the floor or other location where they will not fall or otherwise distract the driver.
• Drivers are to avoid reaching for objects, papers, maps, etc. while the vehicle in motion.
• Drivers are to avoid any activity that diverts attention from the driving task such as reading, writing, adjusting controls, etc. unless the vehicle is stopped or parked.
The prohibited activities and required practices listed above apply to:
• Operating of any vehicle on <Company Name> business regardless of whether the vehicle is owned by the company or the employee;
• Both handheld and hands-free phones and other communication devices;
• All devices, whether owned by the company or by the employee; and
• All conversations, whether personal or business.
Statement of Acknowledgment
I have read and will comply with the <Company Name> Policy on Distracted Driving as stated above.
I understand that violations of this policy will be considered a serious offense and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of my employment with <Company Name>.
I acknowledge that I have received a copy of this policy including the Statement of Acknowledgment.
While this source was helpful in focusing policies toward companies, I had to be aware that this was an insurance company and there may be some bias to the claims and sources. Preventing car crashes would help the insurance company make more money as they would have fewer damages to cover. Therefore while promoting distracted driving policies for companies has a positive message and purpose, the company may also have a hidden agenda of ensuring less crashes and increasing profit. However regardless of this agenda, the idea of a company policy is still a good idea and the points in the sample policy will help me as I continue my white paper.