Preventing distracted driving in the workplace should be a priority

A new report is calling for companies – particularly trucking firms – to establish distracted driving policies to protect employees.

The report looks into the trend of distracted driving in the workplace/commercial setting, and how employers can mitigate it. The report also mentions that while new health and safety measures were established in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic volumes are returning back to normal and it has become paramount to maintain the safety of essential workers who continue to use major thoroughfares.

It stated there has been a consistent decline in injuries and claims in the transportation industry over the past 20 years – this has been put down to employers’ increased commitment to higher safety standards. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes declined, the report noted. But while the number of fatal crashes fluctuated between 309 and 523 between 2000 and 2015 in Canada, the number still hit 389 in 2017, the report said, citing data from Transport Canada.

Crashes caused by distracted driving are not just threatening lives, but costing employers as well. The report mentioned data from the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, which found that in 2017 the average number of days lost for transportation employees injured within one month of a workplace incident was nine days.

Other notable findings of the report included:

  • Investment in safety translates into less turnover and higher retention rates of qualified and skilled drivers in an industry with a shrinking pool of potential candidates.
  • The cost to implement standard prevention training for all new employees is still less than the cost of post-incident training for the small number of employees that may require it.
  • A pattern of collisions and claims is an indicator of risk and ultimately results in much more expensive insurance costs. Unfortunately, many smaller companies are not fully aware of the consequences of a blemish on their National Safety Code record which can have long-lasting effects.
  • In addition to the immeasurable costs for communities and families who experience death and serious injuries due to distracted driving, these collisions have significant costs and consequences for employers.
  • As traffic volumes rapidly return, normal vehicle collisions and the aftermath continue to have both direct and indirect costs for employees and employers.

Source: by Lyle Adriano for Insurance Business Magazine

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