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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Distracted Driving Accidents Echo Intoxication Caused Injuries

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that the activism against driving while intoxicated is beginning to be mirrored in distracted driving crashes. This parallel will probably cause workers' compensation courts and state legislature to shortly revisit the compensability of certain claims caused by employees who engage in distracted driving and will likely bar them from eligibility as workers compensation claims.

"As cell phone technology improved, texting while driving, which necessitates taking one’s eyes off the road, also became a major concern. The new term 'distracted driving' encompasses many behaviors that divert attention from driving, hampering awareness and performance and increasing risk."

The moral outrage being generated from distracted driving behavior will most likely mandate the imposition of technological changes to restrict cell phone use in moving vehicles. While that technology is being developed and deployed, workers and their employers should take heed of the growing public policy against such conduct.