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Thursday, November 4, 2010

NIOSH Supports Efforts To Ban Distracted Driving

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is following the lead of the US Department of Labor by encouraging employers to ban cell phone use while operating vehicles. An outright prohibition and supporting legislation may lead to the prohibition of workers' compensation benefits in many jurisdictions in the near future unless more global and radical action is taken to re-mediate this dangerous activity.

“While the basic distractions of cell phone calls or text messaging are similar whether one is driving on work time or on personal time, there are sources of distraction and incentives to engage in distracted driving behaviors that are unique to the workplace,” noted John Howard, M.D., Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). “Someone driving on personal time has the leisure of waiting to return a friend’s call or text message. In these situations, minimizing risk is a matter of changing personal behavior and habits,” Dr. Howard said. “Workers, however, may be required or pressured by job demands to engage in distracted driving behaviors. Strong employer policies to curb the use of cell phones and in-vehicle technologies while driving are an important tool in creating a safe driving culture within an organization.”

Dr. Howard added, “NIOSH applauds the efforts of the Departments of Transportation and Labor to highlight the important role public and private employers can play in reducing distracted driving. We join them in urging employers to set policies to prohibit text messaging while driving. In addition, NIOSH will continue to work with our federal and other partners to support further efforts to reduce distracted driving in the workplace.”
For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman 1.973.696.7900 have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered work related accident and injuries.

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