What is Distracted Driving at Work?

Distracted driving occurs any time you take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off your primary task, which is driving safely. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash.

Workers in many industries and occupations spend part of their workday on the road. Drivers at work are more likely to be in a hurry to reach their destination, think about a work procedure, be tired, or use their cell phone while driving.

The following are some options both employers and employees can implement to reduce distracted driving accidents:

Employers: Use the following recommendations to prevent distracted driving.

  • Ban texting and hand-held phone use while driving a city vehicle, and apply the same rules to use of a city-issued phone while driving a personal vehicle.

  • Consider banning the use of hands-free phones.

  • Require workers to pull over in a safe location if they must text, make a call, or look up directions.

  • Prepare workers before implementing these policies by communicating:

  • How distracted driving puts them at risk of a crash

  • That driving requires their full attention while they are on the road

  • What they need to do to comply with your company’s policies

  • What action you will take if they do not follow these policies

  • Consider having workers acknowledge that they have read and understand these policies.

  • Provide workers with information to help them talk to their family about distracted driving.

Employees: Take the following actions to stay focused behind the wheel.

  • Do not text or use a hand-held phone while driving. Further, avoid using hands-free phones as much as possible – even if your employer allows them.

  • Pull over in a safe location if you must text or make a call.

  • Make necessary adjustments (e.g., adjust controls, program directions) to your car before your drive.

  • Do not reach to pick up items from the floor, open the glove box, or try to catch falling objects in the vehicle.

  • Avoid emotional conversations with passengers, or pull over in a safe location to continue the conversation. For normal conversation, passengers in the vehicle can often help lower crash risk for adult drivers.

  • Focus on the driving environment — the vehicles around you, pedestrians, cyclists, and objects or events that may mean you need to act quickly to control or stop your vehicle.

Take the time to share these ideas and opportunities to reduce distracted driving losses with your employees. Help keep them safe and your municipality free from the hassles of distracted driving incidents.

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