April is distracted driving awareness month. Society has been lulled into a sense of security in that as long as one is using a hands-free device while driving that there’s no risk. While this may be the law in many states, the reality is that the risk of crashing when talking on a hands-free phone conversation is about 4 times greater than when not using a phone at all while driving. The TV show “Mythbusters” found that driving while using a hands-free device is as dangerous as drunk driving! This should be an eye opener for everyone including employers that allow their employees/drivers to use hands-free devices.
For most employers, an employee that multitasks well is an asset. Multitasking while driving however can be a serious and deadly liability. Reading on a cell phone results in a crash being 3.4 times more likely. Reaching for a moving object while driving is a whopping 8.8 times more likely to result in a crash while turning around in a seat carries the same risk. Texting and driving increases the likelihood of a crash between 8 and 23 times.
The National Safety Council recommends policies that prohibit both hands-free and handheld devices. There is a free cell phone policy kit available at the National Safety Council’s website. The kit helps employers reduce crash risk and has all the materials needed to build leadership support in your organization for a cell phone policy and communicate to employees the crash risks and the need for a cell phone policy.
Additional resources available in the kit include a sample policy, answers to frequently asked questions, Mythbusters info, activities to build employee buy-in, posters, employer white paper, cognitive distraction white paper and newsletter articles. With new technology in vehicles causing drivers to be more and more distracted, reduce the risk to your organization and develop a company cell phone plan today. It just may save one of your employee’s lives.
Information about the Author: Before coming to Insurance Associates, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company, BJ spent twelve years working for several property and casualty insurance companies with four years in management. He completed his studies through The Institutes and earned the prestigious Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 2012. BJ graduated at the gold level from ABC of Metro Washington’s Leadership Development Program. At Insurance Associates, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company, BJ is first and foremost an advocate for our clients. Whether it’s helping a client to lower their experience mod or using his expertise to get a claim paid for a client, he is always available to help a client with any of their claims needs. In his free time BJ is most likely to be found on the golf course or spending time with his cat.
BJ Westner, CPCU, CRIS
Senior Claims Consultant
Insurance Associates, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company