Safety Firm BST: Hands-Free Laws Not Enough to Curb Distracted Driving Among Employees

OJAI, Calif., Jan. 31, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Distracted driving is an organizational safety issue that requires the same attention and resources as other workplace safety concerns, according to a white paper released today by global safety firm BST ( Authored by CEO Colin Duncan, the paper describes why compliance with hands-free laws is insufficient for reducing distraction-related accidents among employees and recommends developing a systemic approach that embeds exposure reduction into the work instead.

Driving-related accidents have long been among the leading causes of worker fatalities. Still, BST experts say that organizations have been slow to respond to distracted driving because the hazard doesn't look like a typical workplace safety issue. "Many leaders themselves engage in distracted behaviors without recognizing the risk," says Duncan. "Mobile technologies like cell phones and GPS devices have made it easier to work from wherever we are, but many organizations haven't caught up to the fact that an employee using these technologies while driving is just as at risk as a teen who is texting behind the wheel."

Duncan recommends that organizations adopt a systemic approach to distracted driving, starting with the recognition that it is an organizational safety issue in the first place. While BST experts advise applying the same level of resources to distracted driving as other safety issues, they also caution that an intervention must accommodate the unique characteristics of the hazard, which tends to occur "outside the gates" and in an open environment with many uncontrolled variables. Duncan recommends six practices organizations can use to begin addressing distracted driving effectively:

  • Understand and articulate what "distracted driving" means
  • Develop a safe driving policy that aligns with organizational realities
  • Collect data on driving exposures
  • Put the focus on decreasing exposures, not reducing accidents
  • Address attribution bias, particularly among leaders
  • Engage customers, vendors, and the community in improving driving safety

The white paper outlining BST's full recommendations on distracted driving is available for download at

Rebecca Nigel

BST, a DEKRA company, is a global safety consulting and solutions firm headquartered in Ojai, California. With staff on nearly every continent, BST has helped over 3,200 client sites in 71 countries improve safety performance. BST's work encompasses a range of industries, including mining, petroleum, chemical, metals, paper, food, utilities, railroads, healthcare, and government.

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The following files are available for download:

wkr0006.pdf PDF
[Image] colin duncan
[Image] distracted driving