Does your business have a distracted driving policy? When employees drive distracted their chance of being in an accident increases tremendously. Not only is this dangerous for your employees and the others sharing the road, if the employee is in an accident while doing their job – such as driving to meet a client, to the bank, to make a delivery, or another task in their job description – a claim could be made against your company for damages. On average distracted driving costs employers $75,176 per non-fatal incident, a fatal crash is 10 times more costly - and that was back in 2019. Costs have only increased since then. This doesn’t even take into consideration the lost workdays.
A recent study found that 86% of employers expect their employees to respond to work related messages during work hours. 42% of employees report feeling pressured to respond to work calls, emails, and texts while driving. A distracted driving policy can help employees feel reassured that their safety is a priority for the company, and they will not face repercussion for a short delay in answering while they find a safe place to pull over before responding to calls/texts/emails.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few basics you can include in your policy:
- Cell phone use - have employees make a pledge to turn off their cell phones, or make use of a do not disturb feature while driving.
- Managers and other company leaders should avoid calling/texting employees whom they know to be driving.
- Build driving related tasks into job descriptions to avoid employees feeling the need to complete work-related errands during breaks, allowing them ample time to complete the task and eat their lunch when not behind the wheel.
- For employees who drive consistently throughout their shifts, build in "pull over times" during which time the employee can read emails, return calls and texts. As these are job related functions “pull over time” should be separate from regularly required breaks, such as lunch.
Once a policy has been written, it must be implemented and monitored. Here are some ideas.
- Provide a copy to all employees. Even if they are not driving for company related reasons, reminding everyone of the dangers of distracted driving is a good idea.
- Include a document employee’s sign that they have read and understood the policy.
- Ensure there are channels in place for employees to ask questions and seek clarification on policies and procedures.
- Empower managers and supervisors to monitor for compliance, and provide tools for training, correction, and disciplinary actions to correct poor behavior and recognition, rewards or other compensation to promote good behavior.
- Follow your own guidelines. As an owner or manager, employees are always watching and will follow your lead.
- Assign a leader who will review and update the distracted driving policy as necessary. As your business and technologies evolve so should your policy. Remember, it was not so long ago the idea of needing a Cell Phone Use policy was unheard of.
While distracted driving is a major problem today, it is only one of many risk factors that are pushing up the cost of insurance. Reach out to one of our producers to learn more tips to help improve your loss mitigation and reduce the risk of a claim.