19.11.2010

Distracted driving

Distracted driving is a danger under any circumstances. Drivers are a risk to
themselves and others when they take their eyes off the road, their hands off
the wheel, or their mind off what they are doing. When someone is behind the
wheel while on the job, distracted driving becomes an occupational hazard.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related death. While it is
not known with certainty how many of those incidents involve distracted
driving, there is no reason to think that the role of distracted driving in
fatal work-related crashes is any less than in fatal crashes in the general
population.

Mobile workers routinely communicate with offices and dispatchers through cell
phone calls and text messaging. The work environment may impose additional
risks through in-vehicle telematics: systems that provide information on
clients, schedules, and inventory. The desire to increase productivity and
efficiency, as well as pressures created by tight schedules and unforeseen
delays, can provide incentives for workers to make calls, send text messages,
or access in-vehicle information systems while driving.

"While the basic distractions of cell phone calls or text messaging are similar
whether one is driving on work time or on personal time, there are sources of
distraction and incentives to engage in distracted driving behaviors that are
unique to the workplace," noted John Howard, M.D., Director of the US-American
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). "Someone driving
on personal time has the leisure of waiting to return a friend's call or text
message. In these situations, minimizing risk is a matter of changing personal
behavior and habits," Dr. Howard said. "Workers, however, may be required or
pressured by job demands to engage in distracted driving behaviors. Strong
employer policies to curb the use of cell phones and in-vehicle technologies
while driving are an important tool in creating a safe driving culture within
an organization."


More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)