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Pandemic Preparedness Experts

Pandemic Preparedness Experts
COVID Safe Workplaces

Friday, April 29, 2011

CDC Urges Employers to Prohibit Cell Phone Use While Driving

The US Centers of Disease Control (CDC) released its annual census of work related fatalities and identified cell phone use as a major cause of employee deaths. CDC urged employers to prohibit texting while driving.  A safety initiative by employers will go along way to reducing workers' compensation costs.


"What is already known on this topic?
Highway transportation crashes are the leading cause of occupational fatalities in the United States.


"What is added by this report?
Occupational highway transportation fatality rates declined 2.8% annually during 2003–2008, and groups at greatest risk for occupational highway transportation deaths (e.g., workers aged ≥55 years and truck occupants) differ from those identified for highway transportation deaths in the general motoring public.


"What are the implications for public health practice?
Employers need to know more about the fatality risks to workers from highway transportation crashes, and employer-based strategies (e.g., requiring the use of safety belts in fleet vehicles, restricting cellular telephone use while driving, and allowing for adequate travel time)


This is entirely consistent with findings reported by Jeffrey S. Hickman, Ph.D, of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.  A driver while texting has a 23.24 times chance of having a motor vehicle accident.

The new initiative by US OSHA to focus on both education and enforcement is a consistent and rational approach to lowering transportation fatalities. OSHA recently announced its intent to fine employers who permit and encourage texting while driving.