Though we have all seen drivers talking on a cell phone while driving, is banning the use of cell phones while driving the answer? There are numerous benefits to cell phone use, for truckers it is a lifeline. Nearly half of all cell phone owners have used their cell phones to report trouble, medical emergencies, crimes and drunk or reckless drivers. Phones provide stability and conversation for the long drive ahead. If you must talk while you drive, the safest way is to have a hands-free cell phone cradle installed in your cab so you can speak while driving with two hands. Even so, remember to stay aware of what is going on around you on the road. It is easy to get so engrossed in conversation that you miss exits or fail to notice what other drivers are doing. In these instances, accidents can occur in a split second.
Some motor carriers prohibit drivers from using cell phones while driving on company time. In contrast,
other companies adopt cell phone safety guidelines. To protect themselves, companies should consider adding a section to their fleet safety guidelines. These guidelines should be read and signed by each employee who has driving responsibilities. The restrictions should include the use of hands free headsets and prohibit any form of texting while behind the wheel.
Cell phone use policies may include:
1. Banning cell phone use while driving
2. Prohibiting cell phone use while driving in adverse weather or difficult traffic conditions
3. Instructing employees to avoid calls involving stressful or emotional conversation
4. Allowing voice mail to handle all calls
5. Making pre-planned times to contact family or make calls during rest
6. Allowing a passenger to make calls
7. Understand your phones features i.e. handfree use and speedial
8. Prohibiting taking notes while driving
9. Prohibiting use of any texing device
Obviously any state laws will supersede theses guidlelines, and there is no guarantee in defending liability with this policy, however training and enforcement can minimize your liability exposure. Remember, being proactive and alert contributes to the safety of our roads.