The federal administration has banned texting while driving for commercial truck and bus drivers, except in emergency situations. However, trucking companies also need to enact their own individual bans in place, to ensure that truckers are not at risk of distractions while driving. A new survey by Aegis finds that most companies already have strengthened their approach against distracted driving, and have adopted bans on the use of cell phones while driving.
According to the survey titled, Measuring Corporate Attitudes to Employee Distracted Driving, approximately 71% of companies have already adopted anti-distracted driving policies in the workplace. Not only that, 29% of companies that don’t yet have a policy against cell phone use while driving indicate that they intend to implement a policy like this very soon. Among those companies, as many as 52% plan to adopt a policy soon, with 55% indicating that they plan to adopt an anti-distracted driving policy over the next year.
That is the good news. The bad news is that many trucking companies seem to have a very pessimistic attitude toward the success of these anti-distracted driving policies. Only 32% reported confidence in the effectiveness of the current policies in helping prevent distracted driving. As many as 60% of the trucking companies surveyed note that they were somewhat confident, while only 8% reported that they were not confident at all in the success of their anti-distracted driving policies.
Forty-five percent of the companies that currently have an anti-distracted driving policy for their fleet drivers report that their ban included all kinds of cell phone use while driving; except the use of hands-free cell phones. 41% banned all cell phone use without exceptions, while 12% prohibit only texting, e-mailing and browsing. In 2% of the cases, there were bans only on texting while driving.
Having a policy in place is great, but the real question remains: How is that policy being enforced and how effective is the enforcement? The survey results seem to indicate that trucking companies struggle with those issues, using a variety of enforcement methods such as written and signed policy, training, observation and reporting, post-crash discipline and random safety audits. None of these enforcement methods seem to be particularly effective with 68% of respondents indicating they are only “somewhat” or not confident at all that their enforcement methods are effective. Until effective enforcement methods are instituted, distracted driving policies will do little to solve the problem.
Trucking accident attorneys believe that it is important not just to have company policies that ban distracted driving, specifically the use of cell phones for texting, emailing and voice conversations, but also to make use of gadgets and technologies in order to reduce distracted driving. Fortunately, many of the trucking companies are also considering measures like this with as many as 22% of the companies in the survey reporting that they plan to experiment with technology to reduce the risk of distracted driving involving their drivers. These technologies will include either in-vehicle cameras to record driver behavior while driving, or device-based software that prevents persons from using a cell phone while the vehicle is in operation.
The Indiana personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy, LLP represent persons injured in truck-related accidents and other accidents across Indiana. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, speak with an attorney at our firm.