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March 7, 2023

Employers take note: Distracted driving is now a workplace hazard

First, the good news... Workplace fatalities have decreased over the last few years. Now, the not-so-good news... Motor vehicle fatalities are increasing. The reason? Distracted driving. In fact, according to OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) and the Department of Transportation (DOT), distracted driving – primarily from mobile phone use – is now one of the leading causes of car accidents, injuries, and even death. 

That’s why OSHA and DOT have teamed up to raise awareness and put an end to distracted driving for good. Recently, a new law, established by OSHA and DOT that strictly limits the use of cell phones and other electronic devices went into a effect. 

Here’s what the new law says: “No person shall operate a motor vehicle on any street, highway or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using, holding, or physically supporting with any part of the person’s body an electronic communication device.” 

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the new law.  

What can the police pull me over for exactly? 

The new law means that you could get a ticket for everything from texting while driving, to scrolling through Facebook, to making a call by using your hands to dial from your device. 

What will it cost me?

The new law went into effect in early April 2023, and DOT and OSHA have extended a grace period of six months (so drivers will likely get a warning if pulled over). However, the law comes with serious fines. Your first ticket could cost $150 and two points on your driving record. By your third offence you’re facing a $500 fine, four points on your record and a 90-day license suspension.

How serious is distracted driving, really?

Here are some facts: There have been at least 73,945 distracted driving crashes in Ohio since 2017, including 2,186 fatal and serious injury crashes.

Liberty Mutual Insurance found that 80 percent of teens fundamentally view app use while driving as “not distracting.” 

Liberty Mutual also found that 86 percent of millennials admitted to using their phone while driving to send texts, watch videos and check social media.   

What can I do to keep my employees safe? 

While there are no direct guidelines for employers, OSHA recommends that you develop a strict policy that outlines when employees should use their mobile device for work. Make sure that they understand the new law and that texting for work while driving is not allowed. 

Want to learn more ways to protect yourself and employees from distracted driving? Talk to the team at Roehr Insurance Agency . Our priority is keeping you safe on the road.

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