Car and technology companies are promoting hands-free devices as a safer way to talk while driving. However, according to the National Safety Counsel (NSC):
There is a growing body of evidence showing that hands-free technology such as Bluetooth and ear pieces are just as hazardous as talking on a cell phone normally. A NSC report that references more than 30 research studies found that hands-free devices contribute to “inattention blindness” (when a driver looks at, but does not “see” objects), as well as slower reaction times and difficulty staying in a lane. The report concluded: “Driving while talking on cell phones — handheld and hands-free — increases risk of injury and property damage crashes fourfold.”
Every business with employees who drive for work purposes should have a sound policy in place that prohibits them from texting while driving and strongly discourages the placing or taking of calls while driving. Employers need to have a comprehensive approach to safe driving protocols that goes beyond just having a strong handbook policy. This is especially true when it comes to phone use while driving.
Because of studies showing that distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic accidents and deaths, both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and various states are imposing even greater restrictions on phone use while driving. In addition to liability concerns, phone use while driving could possibly have criminal implications. (See our article on employer liability as it concerns safe driving.)
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