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Friday, February 11, 2011

Distracted Driving Workers Compensation Claim Draws Major Public Attention

A workers compensation claim filed by a state trooper for injuries he sustained while texting and speeding 126 miles per hour that resulting in a fatal accident with oncoming teenagers, a driver and a passenger, has drawn media attention. An effort to hold a hearing, "on the sly with no press," before the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission is now receiving coverage by news organizations including; the Associated Press, the Belleville News Democrat, the Courthouse News Service, and the ABA Journal


Accidents caused by distracted driving are creating an emerging challenge for workers' compensation court to adjudicate. 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.

The state trooper pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless homicide last year. He has since resigned from his job.


The attempt to conceal the hearing of the Illinois troop was the subject of internal e-mails reported by the Belleville News Democrat. Public commenting was removed from the on-line report because of abuses. No hearing date or location has been reported yet for the compensation hearing.

Related Articles:

NIOSH Supports Efforts to Ban Distracted Driving
Cell Phone Safety and Workers Compensation
The Trend to Exclude Distracted Driving from Workers Compensation Coverage
Put it Down - Friday April 30th
Driving While Distracted Compared to DUI
Are Driving Distractions Within the Course of Employment?
Employee Cell Phone Chat Results in $5.2 Million Payment to Widow by Employer