Distracted driving is the cause of countless traffic accidents and fatalities each year. In 2011, there were 3,331 car accident fatalities involving distracted drivers. It’s a problem that’s simply too big for small businesses to ignore. It can be caused by a wide range of activities including texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, talking to other passengers, reading maps, using navigational aids, watching videos, reading books, adjusting music, applying cosmetics, and more. If it takes your mind off the road, it poses a risk to safety and is a distraction.
As a business owner, you’re responsible for the actions of your drivers. That’s why it’s necessary for all small businesses to adopt policies regarding distracted driving. It not only safeguards your employees and the general public, it also helps to mitigate your liability by decreasing accidents that result from distracted driving.
How to Make Your Distracted Driving Policy Comprehensive
The bottom line is that you need an effective and enforceable policy to protect your employees, your customers, and your company from distracted driving and the damage and destruction it causes. Any policy is only as good as your ability to enforce that policy happens to be.
Here are a few things you want to consider in your mobile policy as an attempt to limit distracted driving within your fleet of vehicles.
- Ban all mobile devices. According to Distraction.gov, “Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.” Even hands-free devices have proven distracting to drivers in the past. While this this is an extreme measure, It’s better to ban drivers from using all mobile devices completely to avoid the potential for problems.
- Avoid requiring employees to call in or check in at specific times when they’re on the road for your business. Traffic jams happen and delays sometimes occur. Employees often feel compelled to check in at specific times even if it means bending the rules. Stress the importance of your mobile device policy as a safeguard for employees and let them know that you’d rather have them call in late than harm themselves or others trying to use a mobile device while driving.
- Educate your employees about your mobile device policies. It’s necessary that you provide adequate training and education on the policies so that no one can claim ignorance if they’re caught in the act of distracted driving. In addition to providing adequate education, business owners must set the example for others to follow by avoiding any tendencies towards distracted driving.
- Enforce the policies you create with appropriate disciplinary procedures. Make sure you’ve outlined the process to employees well ahead of time and follow your policies to the letter – even if it leads to the termination of otherwise good employees.
These practices will help you avoid potential problems from distracted drivers in your business. But regardless of what you include in your distracted driving policy for your employees, be sure you protected with commercial auto insurance.