Drive Safely Work Week begins today and I want to promote this excellent idea. Companies are being being asked to remind their employees about driving safety and enforce policies that will prevent auto and truck accidents.
For businesses like 18 wheeler and bus carriers, driving safety should already be a given, right? But see this photo from a case I am working on where a bus driver driving children home from school ran the stop sign and crashed into my client driving the tractor trailer, seriously injuring him.
Why don’t businesses take steps to stop the rampant number of car and truck crashes we see here on a daily basis? A personal injury lawyer sees far too many wrecks caused by company employees — and there’s no end in sight.
Traffic accidents in DFW have shot up over the years as more and more employees move here. Fort Worth and Dallas are two of the fastest growing cities in the United States, with 400 people moving here every day. It’s a recipe for disaster since almost every one (91 percent) commutes to and from their jobs by a private vehicle.
With so many people rushing to get home, more people surprisingly die in auto accidents during the evening rush hour than at any other time of the day — including after midnight when many intoxicated drivers are out.
This week puts companies in a good position to influence traffic safety. From distributing simple educational and marketing programs to implementing widespread changes in workplace policies, businesses can make our lives much safer.
The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety has a variety of helpful materials available on its website that specifically target commuters. A business owner can distribute these materials or to raise awareness about driving safety. Doing this also lets its employees know the company wants employees to be safe and it is taking steps to make that happen.
Many businesses include driving policies in their employee handbooks. This is crucial if workers drive as part of their jobs, such as in sales or delivery services. Companies can often be held liable for work-related auto accidents.
But the cost is high if workers are injured on their way to and from work. An auto accident is an unexpected event, which means the employee may need to take unanticipated time off. For a serious accident, the employee may be gone for weeks or months or sustain a disability that permanently interferes with job performance.Of course a company can’t direct its employees’ behavior once they’ve clocked out, but its policies can encourage or discourage safe driving. For example, a cell phone policy that expressly states “no emailing, texting or talking while driving” sets the expectations that employees should wait to reply until their vehicle is stopped.
But a written policy is not enough. Supervisors should be taught to reinforce the policy in their interactions with employees. This could include having employees sign a pledge or including a line in interoffice communications about the policy. Supervisors should decline to engage in a conversation until the employee is safely parked. Perhaps software apps should be required that ban texting while driving or cell phone use at all.
You cannot of course not eliminate the risks of auto accidents. Other drivers will use their cell phones, speed, drive drunk, or make an error.
If you are injured in a car wreck in Fort Worth or Dallas, call or email us at Berenson Injury Law.