Pay Attention: It’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Pay Attention: It’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, of the 537,475 crashes in the state during 2017, 100,687 – 19 percent – involved some type of driver distraction.

While people are generally aware of the dangers of texting while driving, many drivers do it anyway. And some drivers may not realize all the other ways in which they could be distracted. To help raise awareness about these issues, the National Safety Council ramps-up outreach campaigns each April, during Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

How Employers Can Help

The NSC promotes the concept that employers can play an important role in reducing the rate of distracted driving. To support that message, it has published two case studies and other materials.

One case study describes Cummins’ Driver Safety program, which began in 2014.

The company’s new policy prohibited any employee “on the clock” from using a phone (handheld or hands-free) while driving. That policy applied to all 48,000 employees in more than 50 countries.

Owens Corning has a similar policy, which is described in a case study on the NSC website. Before rolling out the policy, Owens Corning’s CEO refrained from using his cellphone for 90 days, to set a good example and to assure any workers concerned about sales goals or productivity that the new policy would not have a negative impact on their work.

Within the Owens Corning organization, which spans 27 countries and includes about 15,000 employees, individual teams came up with their own guidelines in support of the overall policy prohibiting cellphone use while driving. Some team guidelines include:

  • When leaving a work-related voicemail, explain that you are not able to make or answer calls while driving, per company policy.
  • Don’t try to make calls/check emails at intersections while stopped, because you must be alert to the actions of other drivers.
  • Conference calls must be scheduled a week in advance, so people traveling for work can make sure they’re not driving at the time.

Both Cummins and Owens Corning said that company leaders must demonstrate their commitment to and belief in such policies, in order to convince employees to refrain from using phones while driving.

Adapting Corporate Policies for Everyday Life

Young drivers have a high risk of distraction-related crashes – and not just because of cellphone use. Eating, drinking, chatting with passengers, and grooming are just a few of the ways drivers can be dangerously distracted behind the wheel.

Many novice drivers get at least some driving instruction from their parents. And even if parents don’t teach kids how to drive, children learn lessons from their parents at an early age. If children grow up seeing their parents text while driving, or engaging in other distracting behaviors, they’re likely to engage in those behaviors when they reach driving age.

Parents can borrow some tips from corporate policies that prohibit phone use while driving. Most notably, parents must show that they’re committed to safe driving, if they expect their children to do the same.

If you have questions about how distracted driving might apply to your situation, contact the attorneys at the Austin, TX-based Evans Law Firm. As personal injury attorneys with years of experience, we help the people of Texas put their lives back on track. We offer small law firm attention with big law firm results. Call today to request your free case consultation.