|Survey: One in Five Fortune 500 Companies Ban Drivers from Cell Phone Use|
|Written by Ryan Gray|
|Tuesday, 18 January 2011 00:00|
Preliminary results of a National Safety Council survey show that Fortune 500 companies are "heeding the public's growing call to eliminate cell phone use behind the wheel."
Twenty percent of the companies responding to the survey said they have implemented a total ban on cell phone usage that covers all employees. More than half of the policies were implemented since 2008, about a year after NSC urged all companies to do so. At that time NSC asked governors and state legislators to enact similar legislation.Still, according to NSC, thousands of Americans still die each year in distracted driving-related crashes, and research shows cell phones are the No. 1 distraction in vehicles. The Harvard Center of Risk Analysis estimates that cell phone use while driving contributes to 6 percent of crashes, or 636,000 individual crashes that result in 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths each year. The study also put the annual financial toll of cell phone-related crashes at $43 billion.
“A driver is four times as likely to crash while talking on a cell phone while driving,” said Janet Froetscher, NSC president and CEO. “Now, in 2011, our call to action is getting results, and our nation’s top employers are taking steps to protect their employees and communities in which they operate by implementing total cell phone bans.”
The NSC survey also found that productivity either increased or remained at the same level for 40 percent of companies with total bans. Meanwhile, about half of the companies with total bans implemented their policies recently and said they do not yet know if productivity has been affected. The NSC’s free Cell Phone Policy Kit has more information on implementing a policy in the workplace.NSC said that allowing employees to use cell phones while driving may mean incurring significant corporate liability, and the companies that have implemented cell phone policies understand this potential risk. Crash scenarios in which employers have been liable include employees who were driving:
Since NSC made its cell phone ban recommendation, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has called upon employers to prohibit any practice that requires or encourages employees to text while driving. FMCSA also issued a rule banning commercial vehicle drivers from texting while driving and in December announced it was accepting public comment on whether that ban should extend to talking on handheld cell phones.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 January 2011 07:39|