Distracted Driving

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joebell

Senior Member
Location
New Hampshire
I sit on my companys safety committee and one of the topics we are attempting to confront is distracted driving. This topic was brought to light at a monthly SIG meeting and later to our safety committee. A couple of the issues seem to be legal in nature, big surprise there, but I wanted to get a feel or thoughts from others.

The toughest issue is where the liability begins from the company standpoint, we have 6 company vehicles on the road ,5 service vans and a delivery truck. The first response was to ban the use of cell phones in company vehicles but what about the company phones used in private vehicles. If say a project manager was on the company cell phone and got into an accident, in his own vehicle, would the company have any liability?

I am honestly conflicted in this debate being one of the service techs in the van. We use the time in the van to call our next appointment, place stock orders, call inspectors etc. Yet I do see how using the cell phone can be a distraction and want to do the right thing.

Anyone one else have a distracted driving policy?
 

Besoeker

Senior Member
Location
UK
I sit on my companys safety committee and one of the topics we are attempting to confront is distracted driving. This topic was brought to light at a monthly SIG meeting and later to our safety committee. A couple of the issues seem to be legal in nature, big surprise there, but I wanted to get a feel or thoughts from others.

The toughest issue is where the liability begins from the company standpoint, we have 6 company vehicles on the road ,5 service vans and a delivery truck. The first response was to ban the use of cell phones in company vehicles but what about the company phones used in private vehicles. If say a project manager was on the company cell phone and got into an accident, in his own vehicle, would the company have any liability?

I am honestly conflicted in this debate being one of the service techs in the van. We use the time in the van to call our next appointment, place stock orders, call inspectors etc. Yet I do see how using the cell phone can be a distraction and want to do the right thing.

Anyone one else have a distracted driving policy?
In UK, it is now an offence to use a cell phone when driving except where there is a hands free kit. I think the legislation in the US might change to make an offence there too.
 

stevebea

Senior Member
Location
Southeastern PA
I sit on my companys safety committee and one of the topics we are attempting to confront is distracted driving. This topic was brought to light at a monthly SIG meeting and later to our safety committee. A couple of the issues seem to be legal in nature, big surprise there, but I wanted to get a feel or thoughts from others.

The toughest issue is where the liability begins from the company standpoint, we have 6 company vehicles on the road ,5 service vans and a delivery truck. The first response was to ban the use of cell phones in company vehicles but what about the company phones used in private vehicles. If say a project manager was on the company cell phone and got into an accident, in his own vehicle, would the company have any liability?

I am honestly conflicted in this debate being one of the service techs in the van. We use the time in the van to call our next appointment, place stock orders, call inspectors etc. Yet I do see how using the cell phone can be a distraction and want to do the right thing.

Anyone one else have a distracted driving policy?
Our company has a fleet of app. 265 vehicles and our policy for for all field guy's is no cell phone calls while driving. If you need to make a call or take a call pull over to the shoulder to use your phone. The only ones who can use a phone while on the road are salesmen, dept. managers, and project managers and this must be "hands free". Nobody is allowed to text or e-mail while on the road. This policy went into effect after one of our salesmen rear-ended someone while responding to an e-mail.
 

joebell

Senior Member
Location
New Hampshire
Our company has a fleet of app. 265 vehicles and our policy for for all field guy's is no cell phone calls while driving. If you need to make a call or take a call pull over to the shoulder to use your phone. The only ones who can use a phone while on the road are salesmen, dept. managers, and project managers and this must be "hands free". Nobody is allowed to text or e-mail while on the road. This policy went into effect after one of our salesmen rear-ended someone while responding to an e-mail.
I don't understand the difference between the sales guy with a hands free device and a field guy with a hands free device. Are the cell phones everyone are using company owned?
 

stevebea

Senior Member
Location
Southeastern PA
I don't understand the difference between the sales guy with a hands free device and a field guy with a hands free device. Are the cell phones everyone are using company owned?
Yes, all cell phones are company owned. I dont understand either why they differentiate between office and field guy's but that was their call.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
We have over 200 trucks including some bucket trucks, we had one guy wreck one of the bucket trucks when he dropped his cell phone and was fishing around for it! luckily no one was hurt but about $7000 dollars woth of damage to the truck. All techs have company issued cell phones, and there not supposed to be using them while driving, but I have visited some on job sites and they are never off there bluetooth devices. I do not see how they can be talking to anyone that much on the phone, especially when it's not job related.
 

Besoeker

Senior Member
Location
UK
Makes you think for sure, that is one reason I got the Sync system on my new car, hands free.
I'm not familiar with the Sync system. My current car has a built in system. It's activated by a couple of buttons on the steering wheel and responds to voice input of either names or numbers. Which is fine if you have a good memory for numbers.
 

sameguy

Senior Member
Location
New York
We just taped the phones to the radio mic. so it looks like you are using it and not a cell.
OK not really; but it shows that some can not chew gum and walk.
 

wtucker

Senior Member
Location
Connecticut
I am honestly conflicted in this debate being one of the service techs in the van. We use the time in the van to call our next appointment, place stock orders, call inspectors etc. Yet I do see how using the cell phone can be a distraction and want to do the right thing.
The right thing is to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of job-related fatalities, and OSHA's caught on. http://www.osha.gov/Publications/3416distracted-driving-flyer.pdf

I can understand taking a call with a Bluetooth device, but every second you spend looking up phone numbers, dialing the phone, etc., is a second you're not paying attention to staying alive. Practice saying this to the widow of the guy who died: "I'm on the safety committee, and I don't understand how this could have happened. We couldn't have forseen it." Yeah, you could.
 

big john

Senior Member
Location
Portland, ME
The part that always gets lost is this idea that once you're hands-free you're somehow safe.

Most people are very bad at doing two things at once. That includes holding an involved conversation while driving. When people drive terribly because they're on their phone, it has nothing to do with them holding a phone to their ear, and everything to do with them focusing on the conversation and instead of their driving.

If someone is going to outlaw phone use, they at least oughta be honest about the hazards and outlaw them completely while driving instead of that halfway hands-free nonsense.

-John
 

stevenje

Senior Member
Location
Yachats Oregon
We have over 200 trucks including some bucket trucks, we had one guy wreck one of the bucket trucks when he dropped his cell phone and was fishing around for it! luckily no one was hurt but about $7000 dollars woth of damage to the truck. All techs have company issued cell phones, and there not supposed to be using them while driving, but I have visited some on job sites and they are never off there bluetooth devices. I do not see how they can be talking to anyone that much on the phone, especially when it's not job related.
Does anybody remember when the only phone on the job site was in the trailer? With everybody talking on the phone all day long, it's amazing any work gets done at all.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
The state of California has a law, and the fines ain't cheap. Probably the most broken law I see.

The city here had a policy long before it was a law, due to several accidents involving cell phones.
 

zog

Senior Member
Location
Charlotte, NC
I'm not familiar with the Sync system. My current car has a built in system. It's activated by a couple of buttons on the steering wheel and responds to voice input of either names or numbers. Which is fine if you have a good memory for numbers.
Sync is the Ford/Microsoft system that does pretty much what you just described.
 

joebell

Senior Member
Location
New Hampshire
The right thing is to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of job-related fatalities, and OSHA's caught on. http://www.osha.gov/Publications/3416distracted-driving-flyer.pdf

I can understand taking a call with a Bluetooth device, but every second you spend looking up phone numbers, dialing the phone, etc., is a second you're not paying attention to staying alive. Practice saying this to the widow of the guy who died: "I'm on the safety committee, and I don't understand how this could have happened. We couldn't have forseen it." Yeah, you could.
Great point!
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I see cell phone use as no different than drinking coffee, eating a sandwich or for that matter, having an animated conversation with your passengers. I believe it is called "careless driving" and is a ticketable offense. I love my GPS but having it tell me that I have missed my turn and it is "recaaalculating" all while I am trying to move over 3 lanes in rush hour traffic of an unfamiliar city, is definately distracted driving as well.

As far as your liabilites, you really need to talk to a lawyer and in the end a jury will really decide the outcome.
 
Part that is scary, is it doesn't matter how good you are, it's the others on the road too! You may be able to drink coffee, have sandwich in hand, talk on cell phone and be just an excellent driver. The issue addresses all drivers. If they cannot manage basic driving,let alone cell connection for voice activity you may be the victim of their unintended consequences. Therefore the law is written around the least qualified denominator (teens in a car a lot of the time).

Pay attention out there.
 
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