DISTRACTED DRIVING: Facts Operators Should Know

Posted on February 3, 2010 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

As the distracted driving issue takes center stage this year for chauffeured transportation operators, the need to stay informed of facts, risks, and liabilities is crucial for anyone running livery vehicles on the road.

Facts and studies will play a major role in determining the extent of bans on use of electronic equipment while driving.

While there is a growing consensus that hand-held cell-phoning and texting is a major safety hazard, the jury is still out on wireless electronic devices — uses of which are important for chauffeurs and operators do adequately do their jobs. The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission, for example, overreached in December by banning use of wireless cell phones among for-hire drivers licenses by the TLC, including many chauffeured transportation operators.

According to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, mobile phone distractions cause over 1,643 crashes, 904 injuries, and eight deaths per day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found on-the-job crashes cost employers over $24,500 per crash, $150,000 per injury, and $3.6 million per fatality.

On Jan. 27, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued guidance barring operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) from sending text messages from cellular devices while driving. The ban became effective that day. The new policy does not apply to talking on cellular phones or affect civilian motorists.

Zoom Safer of Reston, Va. has released a free Distracted Driving White Paper documenting the enormous liability faced by corporate CEOs, risk managers, and fleet managers who fail to implement and adequately enforce employee safe driving policies.

Source: Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine

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