OSHA gets involved to discourage distracted driving

The fight to discourage texting while driving just gained new momentum. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) are partnering to build awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and reduce worker fatalities from vehicle crashes.

“It is imperative that employers eliminate financial and other incentives that encourage workers to text while driving,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “It is well recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of a motor vehicle injury or fatality.”

Texting while driving is already a hot topic for much of the country. On the legal front, President Obama signed an executive order last year prohibiting federal employees from texting while driving, and more than 20 states make it a primary offense to text and drive. And this past spring, Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Studios declared April 30 the nation’s first “No Phone Zone Day.”

As part of its multi-pronged strategy, OSHA will launch an education campaign for employers during “Drive Safely Work Week” in early October, post an open letter to employers on its website to advance the “no texting while driving” initiative, and align with the National Safety Council and other organizations to reach out and support employers in their efforts.

What are you doing to help put the brakes on distracted driving? You can take two important steps to deter this dangerous practice: 1) Distribute an employee policy forbidding cell phone use while driving and 2) Display a workplace poster to reinforce your message.

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