Transportation accidents are the leading cause of work accidents in Winston-Salem and throughout the Carolinas. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 1,766 employees were killed in transportation accidents while on the job in 2010. A total of 4,547 workers died on the job that year.
Our Winston-Salem workers’ compensation attorneys know 4 in 10 fatal work injuries occur as a result of some form of transportation accident — the vast majority of which are plain ol’ car accidents.
Distracted driving has become an epidemic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 3,000 to 5,000 motorists a year are being killed in accidents involving a distracted driver. At the start of 2012, we join the National Safety Council in urging employers to establish a cell phone policy in an effort to reduce the risk of serious or fatal distracted driving accidents that occur on the job.
The federal government has already forbid federal employees from texting while driving and placed other restrictions on cell phone use behind the wheel. And the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended all cell phone use be prohibited by drivers, except in cases of emergency.
Employers can do their part to make the roads safer, and to reduce their liability, by creating cell-phone policies for drivers on the job. In a 2009 survey, the NSC found the top three barriers to establishing a cell phone policy in the workplace were:
-Lack of employee support -Competing job priorities -Lack of management commitment
Meanwhile, opinion polls conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Foundation have found that 80 percent of drivers found cell phone use by drivers is a “very serious threat” to their safety. Even though those same drivers admitted to distracted driving behavior.
And Nationwide Insurance reports that 80 percent of drivers support laws restricting cell phone use behind the wheel. Support for banning text messaging by drivers is nearly universal.
Employers who are considering establishing a cell phone policy should do so as part of a coordinated safety effort.
-Don’t surprise employees with a new policy.
-Hold a series of meetings and request feedback as part of policy implementation.
-As employees to offer solutions and discuss potential challenges.
-Policy implementation must have support of top management.
-Brainstorm ways to maintain productivity. Utilize teams of cross-department employees in designing and implementing your plan.
-Involve employees in the monitoring and compliance process.
-Be sure to communicate positive results.
Of course distraction is just one common cause of accidents while driving on the job. Poorly maintained vehicles, defective roads or risks posed by other drivers on the road may also lead to a serious or fatal accident. And please be sure to check back for advice on driving on wet, slippery or icy roads this winter.
Resolve to stay safe behind the wheel in 2012, whether on the job or on your own time. By following time-tested safety advice, you can do your part to avoid an accident. The life you safe, may well be your own.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Trench Safety at Work Can Reduce the Number of Employee Injuries and Deaths at North Carolina Construction Sites, North Carolina Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, October 16, 2011.
Nail Guns a Dangerous Tool Used at North Carolina Construction Sites Injuring Workers on the Job, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, October 10, 2011.