It is not uncommon for workers to be required to drive as part of their job. Whether driving is a small portion of the job – such as a quick task to pick up parts from the distribution center – or it is the entirety of the job – such as a delivery driver – being in a vehicle comes with significant risks.
Most often, distracted driving is the culprit -- whether the worker is the distracted driver, or a distracted driver collided with the worker. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has published research that cites 40 percent of workplace fatalities involve transportation incidents.
Unfortunately, driving distractions can be countless. A short list might include:
- Personal grooming
- Cell phone use
- Manipulating a GPS menu
- Talking to vehicle occupants
But, since it is unlikely that you will be in the vehicle with your employee, how can these issues be prevented?
What Can Be Done?
Employers should take the time to clearly set expectations regarding driving while on the job. Clear rules regarding cell phone use, at the very least, should be included in every employee handbook. Certainly, not all driving distractions can be eliminated, but explaining the hazards and sharing the shocking accident data with employees can go a long way toward reducing the danger. However, even if your employee is not distracted by reading, eating, personal grooming or finding the right track on the mp3 player, this doesn’t account for all of the other drivers on the road.
Take steps to make sure your employees do everything possible to reduce their risk for a motor vehicle accident while performing on-the-job driving tasks. To learn more about your legal obligations and the steps needed to reduce risk, it is important to discuss your needs with a skilled employment law attorney.