Janet Froetscher, president of the NSC, said more than 500 NSC member organizations have total bans on cell phone use by their employees while on the job.
"The leaders of these organizations understand that good safety is good business," she said. "They will not ask their employees to do their jobs in a way that puts them at a four times greater risk of an injury -- whether that job is in a factory, warehouse or behind the wheel."
Froetscher noted that 20,000 organization members of the council voted unanimously to adopt a policy that called for a total ban on cell phone driving. The leaders of these private and public sector organizations, she said, "understand cell phones represent the single most significant driver distraction that leads to crashes."
The NSC recently hosted an event with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to throw support behind distracted driving laws that focus on cell phone use. The council estimates that cell phone use is involved in 28 percent of all crashes -- much higher than any other distraction.
"All distractions are not the same and do not cause the same number of crashes," she said. "Many possible driver distractions, such as listening to the radio, are lower risk than cell phones. There is no evidence that these low-risk activities cause significant numbers of crashes. Other distractions, such as putting on makeup or turning around to reach for something in the back seat, may be higher risk, but far fewer people are doing these dangerous things for shorter periods of time. Thus, these higher risk activities are not causing nearly as many crashes as cell phones. Cell phone use is unique when it comes to causing crashes."
To address the problem, Froetscher said the behavior of American drivers must change.
"Unfortunately, we have learned from history that education, by itself, will not change behavior in traffic safety," she said. "Strong laws, visibly enforced, are necessary to change behavior and make our roads safer."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 9, 2010
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