The rise of mobile technology has given incredible flexibility in how people communicate with each other. Through texting, email, and a plethora of instant messaging apps, getting in touch with another person has never been easier. For businesses, this has been an incredible asset to improve efficiency and the bottom line. Unfortunately, these improvements have come with a dangerous side effect when combined with the pressures of professional life. Employees are engaging in distracted driving to respond to emails, texts, and calls from their bosses.
In a survey commissioned by Travelers Insurance, nearly half of employees aged 18 to 44 said they’ve responded to or made a work-related communication while driving. Even the older generation of employees are not immune to this urge, as about a third of employees aged 44 to 64 have done the same.
Why do employees engage in distracted driving?
Many drivers who admit to engaging in distracted driving do so because they feel pressured. While similar pressure can come from friends and family, a quarter of the drivers surveyed said they do so in an effort to not upset their bosses, according to a Harris Poll of 1,000 people who drive for work. In the Travelers survey, a quarter of respondents said their bosses called or texted them when they knew they were driving.
Travelers Institute, the public policy division of Travelers Insurance, started promoting safe driving among companies and young professionals after the company released its 2017 Risk Index, that analyzed the concerns of consumers and businesses. They began their campaign with a tour of college campuses to reach young professionals and recommend strategies to management teams to help prevent crashes “before they become claims,” as said by Traveler's spokesperson, Sperry Mylott.
One of the strategies the insurance company is recommending is for companies to implement a distracted driving policy, something that only 27 percent of companies have and enforce. This strategy follows a four-step outline: Create, Communicate, Follow, and Promote. By doing so, employees will be reassured that work emails can wait until it is safe to respond without feeling pressure from their superiors.
In 2015, the NHTSA reported that 3,477 deaths and a further 391,000 injuries were the result of distracted driving, a number that has grown with the proliferation of mobile technology. Should you or someone you know be the victim of an accident involving a distracted driver, contact the Herrera Law Firm for a free case evaluation.