We recognize that the use of a cell phone and other similar hand held devices can allow employees to be more available and productive no matter their physical location. Multitasking using a hand held device is tempting but too often has proven deadly when combined with operating motorized vehicles and even sometimes doing something as simple as walking. To achieve maximum benefit, cell phones and other hand held devices must be used safely. The National Safety Council estimates that 1.6 million crashes are caused by drivers using cell phones and texting each year.
Consider the following best practices:
WHILE OPERATING MOTORIZED VEHICLES
• Recognize that operation of the motor vehicle requires your full attention.
• Do not use your cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.
• Do not text while driving. (DOT regulations prohibit truck drivers from texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle.)
• Allow voice mail to pick up your calls and listen to the messages after you have parked your vehicle. Review e-mails and text messages at the same time.
• If you hold a position that requires that all calls be answered, forward your phone to another individual who can answer the calls while you are traveling.
• If you must make a call, stop your motor vehicle in a safe place and make the call. Resume driving after your call is completed.
• Avoid using ear phones or ear buds in operations that require audible communications with other vehicle operators (i.e., forklift operators).
• As in driving, your work tasks require your full attention.
• If your job requires you to use a cell phone, do not talk or answer the phone while you are performing another task which requires your attention.
• Select a safe spot, away from other workers and moving equipment, to make or receive your calls.
• Avoid texting while walking in crowds, busy work areas or on stairs.
Last year, an 18 year old was convicted of vehicular homicide as a result of an accident while texting and driving. Also, the University of Utah just released a study that using a cell phone while driving is as bad as or worse than drinking and driving because the level of impairment is very similar. In fact, in some cities, it is even illegal to walk across the street while using a mobile device.