Friday, April 30, 2010

Distracted Driving: How to Create and Enforce Policies that Reduce Corporate Risk

I collaborated with one of my clients, ZoomSafer, on an important report for any company with cell phones and vehicles.  Our opus is titled "Distracted Driving:  How to Create and Enforce Policies that Reduce Corporate Risk."  
As a Commercial Insurance Agent, I provide Auto insurance to companies with fleets of vehicles, from 1 truck to 100.  When a company paints their name onto the side of a truck, that vehicle becomes a moving billboard. . .and a moving target.  The company's reputation, finances and insurance rates depend on how that truck operates. 

Who did they hire to drive that truck? 

What is that person's background?

What are they doing while they're behind the wheel?

Companies are often held liable for the behavior of their drivers.  Claims range from broken windshields to loss of lives.  My goal is to keep those trucks between the dotted lines, moving straight and steady.  I work with clients to tighten up their safety programs, check driving records and monitor driver behavior.  

Drivers who text, talk and surf on their cell phones are a big risk to all of us.   

ZoomSafer shares my same goal.  They developed an application that silences cell phones while vehicles are in motion.  Calls are sent to voicemail.  Text and email notifications go silent.  Permissions can be adjusted for priority calls and texts, but the intent of the service is to silence the distractions.  I use the service myself, and it does work.

Employees need to use phones for work.  If an employee causes an accident while using their phone for work, then the company can be held liable for the resulting damages.  The company can be held liable.

The best defense is a written corporate policy that regulates employees' cell phone behavior behind the wheel.  Together, ZoomSafer and I prepared a white paper to assist companies in developing these policies.
An effective cell phone usage policy should contain:

 Mission statement
 Definition of prohibited behaviors
 Employee/driver acknowledgement statement
 Enforcement and discipline guidance
Once you have a policy, be sure to enforce it.  If managers don't take it seriously, the employees won't either.

You can download this paper for free at ZoomSafer's website.  Enter a few details to access the white papers section.  Select the one with the above title.  I hope that this paper will be of help to your company.  Please don't hesitate to contact me or post a reply with questions.

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