Employers know they can face liability for motor vehicle collisions if workers under their control cause motor vehicle accidents while performing work responsibilities. To try to reduce the chances a worker will cause a crash leading to workers’ comp claims and victims to suing the employer, many companies are imposing cell phone bans. CNBC reported there are now more than eight million workers throughout the United States who are covered by a ban on phone use while driving that their employers have put into place.
The problem is, there is no evidence to suggest these employer cell phone bans will be effective at preventing people from using their phones while they drive. Most states already limit or prohibit handheld phone use, and a bill is making its way through the PA legislature according to WGAL that would incorporate such a ban in the state of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, even when people are aware of it is illegal and dangerous to use a phone, the number of distracted driving accidents continues to rise.
An Increase in Phone Use Leads to Even More Distracted Driving
There were 1,535,490 motor vehicle collisions in 2013 resulting from drivers using their cell phones while trying to operate a vehicle. Distracted driving now causes 27 percent of car crashes in the United States and nine people die every single day in this country as a result of motorists who are distracted. The rate of distracted driving crashes is going up even as states throughout the country have imposed limitations or outright bans on texting and phone use.
One in 10 people video chat on phones, and 17 percent take self-portraits (selfies) as they drive. Sixty-one percent of people text and drive. Addiction is cited as a possible reason for breaking phone laws and driving distracted. Twenty-two percent of people who use social media while driving claim they do so because they are addicted. Employer bans are unlikely to stop those who know how dangerous it is to be on the phone but who keep doing it.
Technology could be one possible solution for employers, as well as for parents and others who want to force an end to distracted driving. There are technologies which can be installed in vehicles to stop a driver’s phone from calling, texting, or accessing the Internet when the driver is behind the wheel.
CNBC reported on one such technology, which mounts inside of the vehicle and prevents the driver’s phone from distracting functions. If a driver does not have the choice to pick up the phone, he does not have to feel tempted when a text comes in or when he gets the urge to make a call or check his email. The technology still allows the driver to call 911.
Employers may consider installing technology in company vehicles. Parents with teen drivers and motorists concerned about safety and unsure they’ll have the self-control not to pick up their phones should also think about incorporating phone-stopping tech into their cars.