You own a small business and have the employee handbook, sexual harassment policy, and time off requests readily available. An often overlooked document that can save your business—and lives—is a distracted driving policy.
This isn’t just for businesses that depend largely on transportation, though if you own a trucking, delivery, or logistics company, there’s a good chance you have this policy in place. Or maybe you just include “distracted driving” as part of the general driving policy. However, what about the non-profit organization who occasionally sends the receptionist to the bank? What if the employee is texting at the wheel—while on the clock?
Protect Your Employees
Distracted driving is just as dangerous as being legally drunk behind the wheel. Checking one text takes someone’s eyes off the road long enough for them to drive the length of a football field if they’re on the highway. A lot can happen in that time, and it’s your responsibility to keep your employees safe. This means even if they’re running a quick errand, like picking up the brochures from the printer.
Employees might think of running an errand as a sort of break from work. It can even help their overall performance to get a little fresh air. However, they’re still on the clock for you, and you have to keep them safe. Having this policy in place, and sending regular reminders, can help safeguard your employees.
You might be blamed if an employee gets into an accident while working for you—even if they were in the wrong. What if Jim in PR is texting at the wheel on the way to sign an event space for your business? You just might get blamed if you don’t have a distracted driving policy in place. It can get really ugly if he was texting you or one of your managers with a question.
Hopefully you have solid insurance and a great business attorney to help you out in these situations. However, it’s best to prevent these problems to begin with. It doesn’t matter if your employees are in the company car or their own vehicle. You can’t be too safe when sending them on the road.
It’s Not Just On the Job
Let’s say your employee might be running late to work. They text you on the way, and get into a fender bender. They might not technically be on the clock, but they’re still on their way to work. What if they blame you for their distraction? Even if they lose a lawsuit, it still costs you money to fight it.
Having a distracted driving policy helps keep everybody safe. It can help set priorities (such as safety first) and save you money. You know how dangerous texting, talking on the phone, and eating behind the wheel can be. Make sure your employees know, and that they agree to certain rules behind the wheel.