When crashes occur it's the American way to assign blame somewhere and let the guilty party pay the price. Information is exchanged and we let our insurance providers haggle over the details.
But what happens if one person is retired and the person who smashed into him was textig his boss at the time of the incident? Phone records reveal almost everything. All it takes is one distracted driver to jeopardize an entire business.
Texas Dept. of Transportation says that in Texas alone, employers spend $4.3 billion every year as a result of on- and off-the-job traffic crashes that can result in medical claims, absences and lost productivity.
That''s why corporate executives, small business owners and state officials trecently joined the Texas Department of Transportation at a 'Distracted Driving Summit' to consider solutions for reducing driver distractions that caused more than 95,000 traffic crashes last year in Texas.
"With distracted driving responsible for 1 in every 5 crashes in Texas, we want to help business leaders understand what they can do to protect their employees, themselves and other motorists on the road," said John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director. "When employees crash on company time while using a mobile device, employers can be held liable for significant damages."
Among the summit participants were national experts who recommended steps businesses can take to improve safety and reduce financial liability. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that an employer’s price tag for an on-the-job crash is about $16,000 per vehicle; $76,000 per injury; and $505,000 per fatality. In recent years, numerous plaintiffs have filed and won multi-million-dollar lawsuits against employers when their employee caused injuries due to a distracted driving crash.
The Distracted Driving Summit is part of TxDOT’s "Talk, Text, Crash" campaign to warn motorists of the dangers of being distracted behind the wheel. While cell phone use is the most recognizable driving distraction, any behavior that takes a motorist’s attention away from the road is dangerous. Major distractions can include:
- Checking email
- Eating and drinking
- Programming a navigation system
- Adjusting a radio, CD player or other audio device
If you've got a business to run, recognize the importance of having safe driving policies in place for all employees, for all driving. If you don't communicate your policies to advocate safe driving, their carelessness could cost you what you've worked a lifetime to build.