Cell phone texting while driving a company vehicle……does your company have a policy regarding this safety issue? If not, you definitely might want to consider employing one, as drivers who text on their cell phones have an accident risk 23 times greater than drivers who don’t use cell phones on the road. This study comes from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, “clearly showing a substantial risk of a crash associated with manual manipulation of a phone (i.e., calling and texting).” Researchers studied both long-haul truckers and teen-aged driver of light vehicles, with comparable results.
The results did show reduced risk associated with talking on or listening to a cell phone. Those drivers were 1.3 times more likely (than non-distracted drivers) to have a crash or near-crash, opposed to the higher incidence of drivers who text.
According to this study (along with other research), texting was found to be the highest risk behavior regardless of the age of research subject, type of vehicle, or method of study (driving simulator vs. naturalistic real-world data collection).
Bans on text messaging have been enacted by 14 states (Iowa not included) and the District of Columbia, and federal lawmakers are considering proposals to decrease highway financing to any state that does not comply with a text-messaging ban.
As these results demonstrate, cell phone texting while driving can be deadly. To protect your organization, as well as your employees and other drivers on the road, give high priority to developing a policy that speaks to this critical behavior. Every employee who drives a company vehicle should observe and practice a “no tolerance” rule for texting while driving.
We, as HR professionals, need to ensure we have policies in place that are clearly communicated in writing, as well as verbally, and are implemented with consistent consequences if not adhered to. No one wants to attend a funeral for a death that could have easily been avoided.