Implementing a Distracted Driving Policy
1. Develop a policy that includes the following requirements for all employees:
- Before using a cellphone or any other mobile communication device, safely pull over to the side of the road or, ideally, into a parking lot or rest area.
- Let all incoming calls go to voice mail and refrain from reading texts until you’ve finished driving.
- Don’t text or call any employee known to be driving. If you learn that someone you’ve called is driving, promptly end the call.
- Establish that the ban on cellphones applies to all cellphones, not just company phones.
2. Communicate and implement the policy:
- Require all employees to attend training and retraining programs on distracted driving and its causes and consequences. Employees may have considerable experience driving and using a mobile device without any incident, so the message has to emphasize what could go wrong, even if nothing has so far.
- Set up a central repository (e.g., an intranet site) that lets all employees share ideas and best practices for preventing distracted driving.
- Launch a yearly communication campaign to consistently reinforce the message.
3. Enforce the policy:
- Consistently enforce consequences and/or penalties for distracted driving with employees.
- Conduct regular internal audits to determine whether employees are complying with the policy.
- Monitor circumstances that might lead people to regularly disobey or ignore the policy (e.g., managers regularly calling employees who are driving).
- Modify the policy as new circumstances or practices are discovered.
In addition, make sure supervisors and managers are aware of how changes in technology or procedures could cause employees to overlook company distracted driving policies. An increased number of low-severity collisions or backing incidents could indicate the need for refresher training. Even in the absence of these trends, conducting an annual communication campaign to reinforce the importance of safe driving is essential.
Creating a safer driving culture takes time and organization-wide commitment, but the change can start with you, today. Implementing and enforcing a distracted driving policy can help reduce an employer’s risk, protect employees, and keep our roads a little bit safer.