The 2011 campaign is focused on the dangers of distracted driving— but not just from the position of the driver. The new materials also help consider the roles and responsibilities of being a safe passenger, pedestrian and cyclist in preventing distracted driving-related incidents. This guide is aimed at employers.
EMPLOYERS: BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE
Eighty-eight percent of nearly 5,000 organizations that participated in DSWW 2010 have some form of a mobile device policy in place now. That shows that employers are not only taking the safety of their employees (and those sharing the roads with them) seriously, but they’re working to protect the organization’s bottom line in the process. Further follow-up with participants has indicated that although the policies are in place, for some, sustaining the policy has been challenging.
If you are part of an organization with a mobile device policy, you’ll find tips and activities in this year’s campaign to help sustain the policy. If your organization does not have a mobile device policy and if it does not have plans to initiate one, you will still find plenty of resources to help educate employees on the dangers of distracted driving. You also will find meaningful activities to help employees adopt a personal safety culture to better the odds of always getting to where they are going safely.
Research has shown that when it comes to highway safety, education is only one of the ingredients needed for significant and lasting change. When you add policy combined with consequences and rewards, you have a good formula for behavior change.
SO YOU HAVE A POLICY (GREAT!) BUT ARE YOU WALKING THE (NO) TALKING?
- How do you enforce your policy? Do you know if employees are complying or does it take a crash and a follow-up review to find out?
- Does management visibly show its support for the policy? If not, you’re going to have a hard time making it stick. Lack of management commitment was the number one reason given by survey respondents for difficulty in sustaining the policy.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL MOBILE DEVICE POLICY
- Policy language must be clear. For example, texting while driving is surely prohibited, but what about scrolling through e-mail while the wheels are in motion? One NETS member’s policy prohibits employees from using “any electronic device in any gear other than park.” Another company’s policy language clearly prohibits “all electronic devices” so there is no confusion over which devices are allowed — they ban them all.
- Employees must know that management believes in the policy.
- Employees must know management will enforce the policy and issue rewards/consequences as warranted.
- Employees and management should work together to address concerns about maintaining productivity by making the necessary adjustments needed to comply with the policy and still succeed with job expectations.
- Employees need on-going communications on safe driving — of which distracted driving prevention is a key component.
- Help foster a shift in corporate as well as personal safety culture. There are things a person can do to help prevent distracted driving-related crashes as the driver, a passenger, a pedestrian and always as a role model. This is the premise of this year’s DSWW campaign.
- If you’re having success with the organization’s mobile device policy, look for opportunities to be a corporate role model!
- OSHA has launched a distracted driving initiative calling on employers to prohibit any workplace practices that would require or encourage texting while driving. For more information, go to: www.osha.gov/distracteddriving/initiative.html