Texting while Driving: A Safety Roadblock
Distracted driving has become a reality for countless drivers and is a major contributor to driving-related accidents. Cell phone use while driving has become status quo in a society where constant communication is not only available, but also expected. Between making calls, answering calls and texting others, inattention to the road can be disastrous and deadly.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), texting while driving has claimed more than 16,000 lives from 2001 to 2007. As a result, OSHA is pushing companies to recognize the dangers of distracted driving and implement driving safety best practices to help prevent work-related driving accidents.
David Michael, Assistant Secretary, OSHA, stated, “It is well recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of a motor vehicle injury or fatality. We are asking employers to send a clear message to workers and supervisors that your company neither requires nor condones texting while driving.”
OSHA is working with companies to incorporate “text-free zones” and establish defined procedures for safe communications. Additionally, OSHA is encouraging companies to remove incentive systems that spur drivers to text while driving.
Major players in many capital-intensive industries are increasingly requiring transportation contractors to submit written “Driving Safety” safety programs. These programs address driving safety best practices and often require the prohibition of cell phone use while driving. The initiative taken by OSHA and corporations alike sheds light on the dangers of distracted driving and provides steps to help alleviate this growing problem.
Working together to implement best practices, OSHA, industry stakeholders and other proponents of safe driving can pave a safer road for drivers.
On April 18th, OSHA, Johns Hopkins University, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Department of Transportation will host the Symposium on Prevention of Occupationally-Related Distracted Driving. For more information on the conference, as well as additional resources, please visit OSHA’s Distracted Driving page.