Distracted Driving as an Organizational Safety Issue

Distracted driving is something that everyone knows is dangerous, although when most people think about distracted driving their mind goes to a careless teenager texting behind the wheel. The reality, however, is that distracted driving is a problem for all ages and it is a major problem for business organizations. 312490_man_talking_on_the_cell_phone.jpg

Our Spartanburg work injury attorneys know that employers can be held responsible when employees get into an accident as a result of driving on the job. Recently, however, a top global safety consulting firm has identified distracted driving as an “organizational safety issue.”

The safety consulting firm indicates that organizations have been challenged in recent years to take on a more prominent role in securing the driving safety of their employees. Workers whose employers fall short can seek compensation through workers’ comp benefits, and employers who don’t take responsibility for employee safety could find themselves at significant risk of legal liability.

Distracted Driving A Major Workplace Injury Concern

Distracted diving is a major concern in any workplace where a worker has to drive frequently. This can include not just truck drivers or food delivery workers, but also any other workers ranging from traveling salespeople to first responders who drive as a routine part of their job. Even a worker who is only occasionally asked to drive could become involved in a distracted driving accident. For example, some situations that have been identified as times when distracted driving might occur include:

  • Workers who type in onboard computers while driving a company fleet.
  • Sales execs who eat in the car as they drive to appointments
  • Executives who are on the road while participating in meetings
  • Workers who glance at their emails while at a stop light.

If a worker does become involved in a distracted driving crash while on-the-job, the worker could make a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. Car accident injuries are often serious or even fatal and the workers comp benefits could end up including not just payment for costly medical bills but also ongoing disability benefits if the accident leads to permanent injury.

An employer’s liability wouldn’t necessarily end with workers’ comp benefits either. If someone else other than the employee was injured in the accident, then the employer could find itself getting sued by the third party victims. This is because employers are considered to be in an “agency” relationship with employees. The employees are agents who act on behalf of the employers and any negligent employee means that the company was negligent as well.

To protect themselves from liability and to prevent workers from getting hurt, employers are first urged to recognize the problem of distracted driving as a safety issue and then to address the issue with the same leadership attention and resources as other safety issues. This means:

  • Properly training employees on the dangers of distracted driving.
  • Having a written distracted driving policy in place.
  • Instituting a plan for organizational safety interventions to identify and prevent distracted driving

Having a policy in place, educating employees and taking affirmative steps to prevent distracted driving may allow employers to keep their workers safer at work and may help to protect an employer from liability for distracted driving crashes.

If you have been injured in a work accident, contact the Spartanburg injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
NSC Offers Advise to Reduce Workplace Car Accident Injuries, North Carolina Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, March 20, 2013

Roadside Workplace Injury Prevention Necessary During Spring Construction season, North Carolina Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, March 30, 2013

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