Texting While Driving: Now Causing Missouri Work Accidents

March 19, 2012,

1016505_road_traffic_accident.jpgDistracted drivers are literally everywhere - and they're becoming a major cause of work-related injuries. In 2011, OSHA held a Symposium on Prevention of Occupationally-Related Distracted Driving, where attendees discussed the consequences of using cell phones and testing while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels discussed just how often traffic accidents occur as a result of this careless activity.

There were a number of stakeholders that all had one goal in mind: reducing the number of work-related driving distractions. They spoke with one another in an attempt to create a plan of action, including new directions for research. Our Missouri workers' compensation attorneys understand the importance of these meetings. As technology and workplace environments continue to advance, so shall the rules and regulations to keep these places safe and injury free.

There were a number of organizations that contributed to the symposium, including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Johns Hopkins Education and Research Center for Occupational Safety and Health, the Department of Transportation and the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy. These organizations participated in a number of presentations, networking opportunities, training material demonstrations and discussions.

The number of workplace fatalities caused by distracted driving continues to climb. Car accidents are the number 1 cause of on-the-job fatalities.

As a large number of workers are required to drive while on the job, each of them face an increased risk of death at work. Many local employees are urged to visit various work sites, meet with clients and customers, and deliver goods. The Departments of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have teamed up in a countrywide campaign designed to halt distracted driving habits and save lives.

Year after year, motor-vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of on-the-job deaths around the country. Within the last few years, the boom in technology has become a large contributor to these accidents. It's ironic: many of these technologies were developed to improve business operations, and yet they end up taking the lives of many employees.

According to the Department of Transportation, more than 5,400 people died in accidents that were linked with a distracted driver in 2009. Thousands more sustained injuries from these accidents.

It is the responsibility and legal obligation of the employer to create, maintain and enforce safe and healthy working conditions. Certainly, texting while driving puts many workers in dangerous situations every day. In October 2009, President Obama banned all federal employees from texting while driving: since then, several employers have followed suit.

OSHA is coming after employees and employers that are busted texting behind the wheel too. When OSHA receives a credible complaint from the public that reports that an employer is requiring its driving employees to text while driving, or an employer who organizes work so that texting is practical necessity, the Administration will investigate. If found guilty, OSHA will issue citations and penalties to punish and end the dangerous behavior.

If you have suffered a work injury in Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, Kansas City, or southeast Missouri, contact the workers' compensation lawyers at Aaron Sachs & Associates by calling 1- 888-777-AUTO.

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