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OSHA Warns Employers: Don't Let Workers Text and Drive

Filed under Office & HR.

Employers may be surprised by the fact that vehicle crashes are the leading cause of worker fatalities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) believes that businesses can help solve this problem.

OSHA has developed a brochure, "Distracted Driving: No Texting," to explain to employers and supervisors the importance of preventing texting by their workers while they are driving. The brochure includes research highlighting the dangers of distracted driving:

  • Distracted driving crashes killed more than 5,400 people and injured nearly 500,000 in 2009, and killed more than 3,000 and injured 416,000 in 2010.
  • Drivers who are texting take their eyes off the road 400 percent more than when they are not texting.
  • Reaction time is delayed for a driver talking on a cell phone as much as it is for a driver who is legally drunk.
  • More texting leads to more crashes. With each additional one million text messages, fatalities from distracted driving rose more than 75 percent.
  • Researchers report that texting while driving claimed more than 16,000 lives from 2001 to 2007.

"It is well recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of a motor vehicle injury or fatality," said OSHA's Assistant Secretary David Michaels. "We are asking employers to send a clear message to workers and supervisors that your company neither requires nor condones texting while driving."

Act Now

While worker safety is the top concern, employers must also recognize the potential costs of distracted driving to their business. Employer liability is a very real danger if an employee causes injury to property, themselves or others while they are acting within the scope of their employment. Not to mention the possible costs of:

      • wages paid to sick, disabled and substitute employees
      • training permanent replacement workers
      • damaged equipment repair or replacement costs
      • insurance and workers' compensation claims
      • the inability to meet obligations to customers

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