Florida is only one of six states that has yet to enact a law to stop drivers from text messaging behind the wheel. However, there are a number of employers in the state that are taking matters into their own hands. According to Hispanic Business, some companies are taking it upon themselves to implement rules banning drivers from talking on phones or text messaging while driving.
And with good reason. These accidents can leave both the driver and the company liable for the serious and fatal injuries that result.
For example, one company based out of Fort Lauderdale, AutoNation, has distributed magnets to its workers that say “TXTRIP.” AutoNation is the country’s biggest auto retailer and now its offering a discount to all of their employees who pledge not to text behind the wheel.
Our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers understand the risks associated with distracted driving. In just 2010, there were more than 3,000 people who were killed in car crashes that involved a distracted driver. According to Distraction.gov, another 416,000 people were injured in these kinds of accidents. Many of them happened in company vehicles while workers were trying to multitask behind the wheel.
AutoNation officials, like chief executive Mike Jackson, have even tried to take it a step further and propose laws against text messaging and driving, but nothing has been successful yet.
Office Depot, based out of Boca Raton, also has a company-wide policy that bans drivers from this dangerous behavior. It’s been on the books since 2009. Employees have been banned from reading, composing or sending text message whenever their vehicle is moving. This policy includes company phones and personal phones. Even business calls are a no-go behind the wheel.
“We want to do this whether there is a law or not. Common sense should tell you that texting or reading email while driving is dangerous,” said Kathy Schroeder of Office Depot.
Ryder System, based out of Miami, says that the company currently bans driving workers from texting, but has always allowed them to talk on the phone while on the job and behind the wheel. That changed back in 2010 when the company decided that all of the safety research concluded that drivers were safer when neither activity was allowed.
Sandford Hodes, the vice president of Ryder System says that drivers should just let their phone ring if it’s going off while they’re driving. They can turn it off when they get off of the road and stop safely.
Under all of these policies, drivers are held accountable via the “honor system.” Ryder runs a campaign twice a year to enforce this policy. Within the company, there are about 5,000 workers who drive company vehicles. In about 100 of these vehicles, there are in-cab cameras to monitor the driving habits of workers.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety, there were more than 25,000 accidents in 2011 that were caused by distracted drivers. Close to 200 of them were solely attributed to text messaging drivers.
If you or a a family member has been involved in a car accident, contact the injury attorneys of Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call 1-800-561-7777 today!
More Blog Entries:
Road Rage: Dangerous Drivers on South Florida Roads, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, September 10, 2012
Lack of Distracted Driving Law in Florida to Cost State Cash, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 29, 2012