The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a new initiative to discourage texting while driving at work in an effort to reduce the number of North Carolina work accidents and work accidents nationwide that are caused by distracted driving.
Car accidents are the leading cause of fatal work injury.
“It is imperative that employers eliminate financial and other incentives that encourage workers to text while driving,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “It is well recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of a motor vehicle injury or fatality.”
Nationwide, 6,000 motorists were killed and 500,000 were injured by distracted driving car accidents in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Federal authorities have focused on text messaging because it involves all three forms of driver distraction: Cognitive, visual and manual.
President Barack Obama has already signed an executive order forbidding all federal employees from text messaging while driving.
OSHA’s new program will include:
-An education campaign in October, dubbed “Drive Safely Work Week.”
-A showcase of employer policies to encourage employer and labor associations to take the lead in banning text messaging.
-Partnerships with safety organizations, including the National Safety Council, to reach smaller employers.
-An emphasis on reaching younger workers.
-Investigations, citations and penalties for cases in which credible complaints are received that employers require texting while driving.
“We call upon all employers to prohibit any work policy or practice that requires or encourages workers to text while driving,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. “The Occupational Safety and Health Act is clear; employers must provide a workplace free of recognized hazards.”
If you have been involved in a North Carolina car accident while on the job, contact the Law Offices of Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.