Cell phone bans hard to enforce

May 23, 2011
Thirty-two percent of companies know about on-the-job crashes caused by cell phone distractions, yet only slightly more than half of them make any attempt to enforce corporate policies banning the use of cell phones by employees while operating a vehicle, according to a new survey conducted by software maker ZoomSafer

Thirty-two percent of companies know about on-the-job crashes caused by cell phone distractions, yet only slightly more than half of them make any attempt to enforce corporate policies banning the use of cell phones by employees while operating a vehicle, according to a new survey conducted by software maker ZoomSafer.

ZoomSafer said its survey – which polled 500 business managers in North America – is designed to gauge corporate attitudes and best practices pertaining to distracted driving. Overall, the company said its findings indicate rapidly growing concern among corporate managers about distracted driving risks and liability. Sixty-two percent of those companies polled noted that they’ve adopted written policies prohibiting employees from using a mobile phone while driving on company business.

Yet the same survey also revealed that while many companies have adopted written cell phone driving policies, only half (53%) make any attempt to enforce compliance. Among companies that do enforce compliance, the survey found that 61% rely on post-incident disciplinary measures, and only 2% currently utilize technology to proactively measure and manage employee compliance with cell phone use policies, ZoomSafer noted.

Other details uncovered in the company’s survey include:

  • 32% of companies have knowledge or evidence of vehicle crashes that occurred as a result of distractions stemming from employee use of cell phones while driving. 50% of companies with over 500 drivers have knowledge or evidence of such crashes.
  • 7.6% of companies have faced litigation resulting from damages alleged to have occurred as a result of employee use of cell phones while driving. For companies with more than 5,000 drivers, the same statistic is 37%.
  • 62% of companies have implemented a written cell phone use policy. Long-haul trucking and local trucking companies were the most likely to have a written cell phone policy (71% and 83% respectively) while home and business services companies were least likely (less than 50%).
  • 53% of companies with a defined cell phone policy claim to enforce the policy in some manner. Interestingly, 25% of respondents who claimed to have a policy declined to answer how such policies were enforced. For companies who did answer the policy enforcement question, 61% said they utilized “post-incident” employee discipline to enforce compliance.

“The fact that so many companies are telling employees to put the phone down while driving is encouraging from a policy perspective – however, from a practical perspective, it’s simply not enough to change behavior,” said Matt Howard, CEO of ZoomSafer.

“To truly change behavior and fully protect themselves from liability, companies must actively measure and enforce employee compliance with cell phone use policies,” he noted.

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