The number of distracted driving crashes is rising nationwide. According to the Nebraska Safety Council, if an employee gets in a distracted driving crash while on the clock, the employer could be liable for damages in the millions.
"Crashes have increased. Judgments have increased. Injuries have increased," said Mark Segerstrom, Road Safety Project Coordinator at the Nebraska Safety Council. "And what we've seen since 2015, believe it or not, is the cost of crashes for employers has increased from $47 billion to $57 billion."
The Nebraska Safety Council is working to cut back on the number of distracted driving crashes in the workplace. The non-profit hosted a seminar Wednesday at Ellerbrock-Norris Insurance for employers. The workshop provided education on the importance of creating a company policy that is zero tolerance for distracted driving.
"If you have a staff assistant that's driving to and from work, and gets into a crash, and needs to miss a month of work, don't you have costs associated with that?" said Segerstrom.
Spoke this morning to employers about the cost savings 🤑 of developing a #safedriverpolicy. Productivity does NOT need to take a hit with such a policy. @meganhahnTV #SafeRoadsNow #DistractedDriving #BuckleUp @NESafetyCouncil @3NewsNowOmaha pic.twitter.com/mmMTCHqGTb
— mark segerstrom (@MarkSegerstrom) November 14, 2018
The Nebraska Safety Council compiled a ten point guide on how to design a safe driver program for the workplace. Recommendations include offering frequent training for employees, routine maintenance checks for vehicles, enacting a zero cell phone policy and establishing a safety committee.
Other guidelines include routinely checking employees' driving history.
Building an effective policy on distracted driving can control the cost of risk when employees get behind the wheel.
"If someone is seriously hurt or injured or killed - that can hurt their image, their brand of the company in the marketplace," said Andy Bassett, Risk Advisor, Ellerbrock-Norris Insurance. "Because the employees have the stress and the emotional strain."
Distracted drivers are increasing the risks of a liability lawsuit and costly verdict. On top of that, they are driving up the cost of auto insurance. According to the Nebraska Safety Council, insurance rates have gone up seven percent since 2015.