Last year a Florida mother of two was fatally rear-ended during a busy commute by someone distracted on their cell phone. The jury awarded a $2 million verdict against the employer, ruling that since she was on a work call the accident occurred within the scope of employment. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near crashes happen within three seconds of some form of distraction (talking on a cell phone, eating, reading, etc.). Here are the findings of a poll of more than three hundred visitors to www.bestlifeonline.com:
- 75% of drivers drink water or coffee
- 73% talk on a cell phone
- 54% eat
- 37% send text messages
- 21% read
- 11% write
- 8% e-mail
- 5% groom
Interestingly, the readers viewed talking on a cell phone as a relatively safe activity (only 6% identified it as dangerous and 40% as somewhat risky). Other than drinking, all the other activities were viewed as dangerous.
Lesson learned: If you’re concerned about the risk associated with multitasking while your employees are driving, then prohibit them from e-mailing, eating, reading, texting, and writing in the car on company time. Get them hands-free headsets even where not required by law.