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NSC White Paper Details Employer Liability from Crashes Caused By Distracted Driving

May 03, 2012

The National Safety Council (NSC) released a new free white paper called “Employer Liability and the Case for Comprehensive Cell Phone Policies,” which cites examples of the cost to employers of on-the-job crashes caused by distracted driving.

The white paper highlights some of the dollar figures associated with specific court cases that involved crashes of company-owned vehicles caused by distracted driving (due to cell phone use, for example). It also provides an overview of current laws designed to prevent distracted driving and guidelines for employers.

In one case cited in the white paper, the plaintiffs received a total of $24.7 million from three cases involving a crash that killed three people and seriously injured 15 others. A tractor-trailer driver was checking his cell phone when his vehicle ran into 10 vehicles that had stopped in freeway traffic.

In another case, a jury found the driver of a company vehicle, and the company, liable for $21.6 million. The crash resulted in a fatality, and phone records showed that the employee whose vehicle rear-ended another was using a cell phone at the time of the crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimate on-the-job crashes cost employers more than $24,500 per property damage crash. Both organizations found that the cost rises to $150,000 per injury and to as much as $3.6 million per fatality.

NSC also released updates to its free Cell Phone Policy Kit and cognitive distraction white paper, "Understanding the Distracted Brain: Why driving while using hands-free devices is risky behavior," according to the organization.

The NSC is a supporter of Bobit Business Media’s upcoming Fleet Safety Conference.

Click here for a Business Fleet article “6 Keys to an Effective Cell Phone Policy.”

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an independent, nonprofit, scientific, and educational organization that dedicates its efforts to reducing the losses, deaths, injuries, and property damage, from crashes on U.S. highways.

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