Distracted driving is becoming a bigger and bigger problem on our roadways with each passing day.
According to a recent article in USA TODAY, attention needs to be shifted off teen drivers and placed a little more on company drivers when discussing the risks of distracted driving. Now, companies are coming around and are starting to focus more on liability issues tied in with the dangerous habit and are looking into developing more policies to curb this behavior for their fleet drivers.
The emphasis is on helping to protect drivers from a work-related car accident in Boston and elsewhere.
Their policies are coming with the authority of a new federal law, too. There’s a new law on the books that makes it illegal for drivers of commercial vehicles to use any kind of handheld cell phone behind the wheel. This law impacts roughly 4 million bus and truck drivers across the country in addition to the tens of millions of other fleet drivers. This law pertains to those who drive a commercial vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds and passes over a state border for business purposes.
Our Boston trucking accident lawyers understand that this law took effect back in January to get commercial truck drivers to hang up the phone behind the wheel! The law, enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), comes with a near $3,000 fine and the loss of a license if drivers break it. Companies can face fines of more than $10,000.
“The new (federal) law does put the onus on business owners,” says Chris Hayes with Travelers insurance company, which is the country’s largest commercial vehicle insurer.
Right now, there are no states than prohibit all cellphone use for all drivers. Nine states prohibit handheld use and 35 states ban drivers from text messaging.
Don Taylor with the Los Angeles-based Reliance Steel & Aluminum says that liability is a big issue when it comes to work-related driving and cell phone use. His company has nearly 2,000 trucks on the road and they ban all drivers from using communication devices at the wheel. A driver can only use a phone or an electronic device if the vehicle is legally parked. This helps them to reduce the risks of accidents and help to keep drivers and innocent motorists safe.
One of the challenges facing companies with the new ban is not being able to get in touch with workers whenever they’re on the road. Companies are able to overcome the obstacles though. As Hayes says, if you get one driver in an accident because of distracted driving, then you’re losing out on important deliveries and that will cost you money along with the damages you’ve caused because of the accident. Driving without distractions is a win-win for everyone.
If you, a coworker or someone in your family has been hurt in a work-related accident, contact the Boston workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC. We are a law firm that’s dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured workers in Quincy, Natick, Boston, Norwood, Foxborough and elsewhere throughout the Greater Boston Area. Call today to schedule up a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call us at 1-877-617-5333.
Companies weigh risks of distracted driving, by Larry Copeland, USA TODAY
More Blog Entries:
Unemployment Numbers Show High Risks for Work-Related Accidents in Massachusetts, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, April 3, 2012
Boston Work Accidents: Perception and Reality, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, March 20, 2012