Walking Distracted, Biking Distracted, Driving Distracted … Enough!

It’s funny to watch the texting woman in a Chinese shopping mall fall into the fountain. It’s not so funny if you are absorbing the brunt of costs associated with injuries that result from these types of incidents. Employers are paying for more and more injuries related to phone distractions.

Employers are impacted whether an employee is hurt or a family member is injured. Off-the-job crashes account for more than 80% of employer crash-related health benefit costs. Half of crash-related injuries cause employees to miss work.

Distracted walkers, distracted bicyclists and distracted drivers make a recipe for disaster.

Whenever one of your employees or one of their family members is involved in a crash – on or off the job – the impact is felt at your workplace, especially in missed work, decreased job productivity, and health benefits costs.

A small investment in time and resources can pay big dividends and positively impact your bottom line. Saving lives and reducing injuries can decrease your liability exposure. I like to steer employers on a path leading to a back-to-basics driving discussion. Think of all your employees and not just those employees who may drive as part of their jobs.

Over time, we all tend to take driving basics for granted. Complacency … But who couldn’t benefit on occasion from a friendly reminder to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road? Often, a general neglect of these types of basic driving skills leads to increased employer costs and exposure to liability risks.

I encourage you to talk about issues ranging from understanding how to navigate through intersections to sharing the road with pedestrians and cyclists. How many of your employees walk to lunch? Walk when they are on their sales routes? Anyone have employees who bike to work?

Sure you do. People walk and ride bikes all time, some for work, others for fun. Distractions – specifically texting and talking on cell phones – have contributed to a rise in injuries and fatalities involving pedestrians and cyclists across the nation.

Inevitably, somebody gets hit. These types of crashes typically do not end well for pedestrians. Employers led the way in promoting usage when seat belt legislation was introduced many years ago. Likewise, they are leading the fight to end distracted driving.

— Lisa Robinson is a senior program manager with the National Safety Council