Florida is currently one of a dwindling number of states that does not regulate the use of cell phones or texting while driving. Each legislative session, bills are proposed which would place restrictions to those who are behind the wheel. Each session these bills fail. Car and truck accidents due to these behaviors continue to rise. With the dangers evident, some businesses are taking steps to prevent their employees from distracted driving.
Recently, the Walt Disney Company banned all of its employees from texting while driving. The ban applies whenever the employee is on-the-clock, even if the employee is driving his or her personal vehicle. Many of those involved in transporting guests on company property already were subject to these rules. More area companies are expected to announce similar initiatives.
Nationally, companies have also begun putting policies in place aimed at eliminating distracted driving, especially in the trucking industry. The federal ban on texting while driving for truck or bus drivers went into place earlier this year, and drivers face potential civil and criminal penalties for violating the rules. With the government putting more aggressive safety regulations in place, trucking companies have responded by strengthening their existing policies.
The Strength in Numbers Fleet Benchmarking Study examined policies of 45 trucking companies in greater detail. Companies that had strict bans in place which carried harsh penalties for those found to be violating the policies, saw their trucking accident rates decrease. Of the top eight companies in the survey, six had procedures in place which allowed the company to terminate a driver for violating company rules. None of the bottom 13 companies in the survey had procedures which allowed the company to terminate a driver caught using an electronic device while driving.
This information could be useful to states such as Florida that have no ban in place. Unless drivers face serious consequences for violating the ban, they may continue to text or use their cell phone while driving. If drivers know that their actions have serious consequences, it may cause them to adopt safer driving habits.
If you have been injured in an accident due to distracted driving, contact an experienced attorney in your area.