Safety Tips Driving safety

Help workers say ‘no’ to distracted driving

Photo: Jupiterimages

Are you worried about your employees driving distracted or using their cell phone behind the wheel? The National Safety Council states that the leading cause of workplace death is motor vehicle crashes, and estimates one-quarter of those crashes involve cell phone use.

Understanding distractions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified three main types of distraction that occur when driving: visual, manual and cognitive. Visual distractions include reading a text message or programming your phone’s or vehicle’s navigation system. Manual distractions occur when you take your hands off the steering wheel to dial your phone, eat, drink or groom. Cognitive distractions involve your brain, and include talking on your phone (even a hands-free device) or daydreaming.

Prevention tips

Preventing distracted driving among the workforce may pose challenges, so both management and workers need to get on board.

Employers and supervisors: CDC’s first recommendation for employers is to create a cell phone policy. Although that may sound daunting, NSC can help. Visit for a free cell phone policy kit. The kit contains materials to help build leadership support in your workplace for a cell phone policy, including an employee communications roll-out calendar, posters, and articles and white papers on employer liability and cognitive distraction.

Before implementing a cell phone policy, CDC recommends preparing workers for what’s to come. Be clear on why your workplace is initiating the policy, what workers need to do to comply with it and what corrective actions will be taken if workers don’t comply.

Workers: To help avoid distractions while driving, it can be beneficial to take certain actions before hitting the road. CDC recommends planning your route and adjusting your mirrors, radio and temperature controls in advance.

In addition, create a voicemail greeting explaining to callers that you’re driving and will return their call when you’re able to do so safely.

To avoid the temptation of using your cell phone, turn it off while you drive, or turn the volume off and place it in your glove compartment or trunk.

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