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Cell phone incidents: Employers are being held liable up to $25 million for employee crashes, even when employees are using hands-free devices.
This National Safety Council white paper shows real cases and explains why employers should care. Find out more here:
Distracted Driving Documents
If hands-free cell phone use while driving is not risk free, then you’re wondering, why is it OK to carry on a conversation with a passenger?
In cases involving adult drivers, the answer is three-fold:
The National Safety Council has reviewed more than 30 studies that show
hands-free systems fail to make driving safer. Even with both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road, your brain is distracted from the task of driving by conversation or infotainment. And your brain is capable of doing only so much.
At NSC, multi-tasking is described as a big, fat myth. While the brain quickly toggles between tasks, research proves it cannot do two things at the same time. The activity in the area of the brain that processes moving images decreases by up to 1/3 when listening to talking on the phone. The result: distracted driving.
In a NSC poll, 80% of respondents said they believe hands-free cell phones are safer than using handheld devices. And 53% said they believe hands-free systems must be safe if they are built into vehicles. Studies conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute debunk these beliefs, three conclusions serving to drive home the point:
About 100 people die in car crashes every day, making motor vehicle incidents the #1 cause of unintentional deaths in the United Sates. About 26% percent of all car crashes involve cell phone use. At any moment, 9% of drivers are talking on cell phones.
In 2014, there were
100,825 traffic crashes in Texas that involved distracted driving (distraction, driver inattention or cell phone use), according to the Texas Department of Transportation. That represented a 6% increase from 2013.
TxDOT reported that there were 3,214 serious injuries from distracted driving incidents in 2014 and 468 deaths. Nearly one in five crashes in Texas involved driver distraction.
Scary numbers, crazy amounts of money: 468 deaths, $21 million.
How serious is the issue of distracted driving in the state of Texas? In 2014, there were 100,825 traffic crashes statewide that involved distracted driving (distraction, driver inattention or cell-phone use), according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Those crashes resulted in 468 deaths and 3,214 serious injuries.
Nearly as alarming, the number of distracted driving crashes jumped 6% from 2013. What can you – the employer – do to protect your company’s bottom line and liability? To prevent a catastrophic loss?
Many are aware a Corpus Christi, Texas jury awarded $21 million to a woman injured when her car was broadsided by a station wagon driven by a Coca-Cola marketing employee talking on her cell phone in 2012, that figure reported in an article posted on Automotive-Fleet.com. Some employers have acted to prohibit cell-phone use while driving and recognized hand-free devices are just as dangerous.
What else is being done to combat the problem?
Well, campaigns aimed at curbing driver cell-phone use and stopping distracted driving are gaining momentum across the country. Likewise, TxDOT is highlighting the dangers associated with texting and driving through its “Talk. Text. Crash-Distracted Driving” program.
Perhaps you’ve seen these TxDOT signs posted on message boards along the highways: “Drive Now. Talk or Text Later.” And, “You Talk. You Text. You Crash.” Or maybe you’ve seen TxDOT public service announcements, window clings and logos, all created with one idea in mind, to encourage people to join in the effort to stop distracted driving.
Arm Yourself with Tools, Resources, Information
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
But, because text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.
Distracted driving is becoming increasingly common and dangerous, causing traffic crashes and fatalities.
In 2014, there were 100,825 traffic crashes in Texas that involved distracted driving (distraction, driver inattention or cell phone use). That is an increase of 6% from 2013. These crashes in 2014 resulted in 3,214 serious injuries and 468 deaths. In fact, nearly one in five crashes in Texas involves driver distraction.
Talking on a cell phone while driving makes you almost four times more likely to crash, and texting while driving increases your chances of a crash by up to
8 to 23 times.
In addition to taking their eyes and hands off the wheel, distracted drivers take their mind off the primary task of driving. Drivers talking on cell phones miss
half of the information in their driving environment.
Drivers using cell phones are less likely to see:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that
employers in Texas spend
$3.52 billion every year as a result of on- and off-the-job traffic injuries, as shown in Table 8. In recent years, numerous plaintiffs have filed and won multimillion-dollar actions against employers for injuries arising from negligent driving of an employee who was distracted by the use of a cell phone.
A corporate cell phone ban might ask employees to:
A project of the National Safety Council in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation.