Distracted Driving: Call to Action for Transportation & Other Employers

Source: BCTrucking.com
Author: BC Trucking Association

In September 2020, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation released Distracted Driving & Workplace Safety Policies:

A Business Case for Employers, a report developed in consultation with The Co-operators, Drop It And Drive®, the trucking industry, and workplace health and safety representatives.

From TIRF’s Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving, this report underscores the importance of distracted driving policies in the workplace to protect employees. Preventing distraction-related crashes on the road and in the workplace remains a priority for Canadian employers.

According to the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board in 2017, the average number of days lost for transportation employees injured within one month of a workplace incident was nine days. Not only are businesses adversely affected by resulting economic losses due to employee absenteeism (due to injuries) and the replacement of skilled workers, but they also incur significant costs to repair or replace damaged equipment, or goods that are destroyed. Costs can be exponential and not limited to the time of the crash event. Employers can expect to incur costs over a period of months, if not years, which can impact all areas of their business, and smaller companies have the most to lose.

TIRF worked closely with the Canadian Trucking Alliance, Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, and the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association to refine the business case with a focus on the transportation industry.

Over the past 20 years, a consistent decline in injuries and claims has been achieved in the transportation industry due to commitment among employers to higher safety standards. In fact, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes generally declined between 2000 and 2015. While it fluctuated between 309 and 523 between 2000 and 2015 in Canada, more recently the number of large trucks in fatal crashes rose to 389 in 2017 (Transport Canada 2019).

Employers in this industry also recognize their critical role in prioritizing strategies to prevent distracted driving among their employees and protect them from other distracted drivers on the road to ensure declines continue.

Key findings from the report include:

Investment in safety translates into less turnover and higher retention rates of qualified and skilled drivers in an industry with a shrinking pool of potential candidates.
The cost to implement standard prevention training for all new employees is still less than the cost of post-incident training for the small number of employees that may require it.
A pattern of collisions and claims is an indicator of risk and ultimately results in much more expensive insurance costs. Unfortunately, many smaller companies are not fully aware of the consequences of a blemish on their National Safety Code record which can have long-lasting effects.

For transportation providers, the business case:

  • describes the costs of prevention programs and compares them to collision costs.
  • illustrates the value of integrating distracted driving policies into workplace safety programs and reinforcing them in day-to-day safety practices.
    contains a call to action for employers in this industry to implement distracted driving policies as a standard component of workplace safety programs.
  • includes tools to help employers estimate the costs to their business and quantify the value of distracted driving safety policies which can protect staff and improve safety in the communities where they live and work.

In summary, employers contributing to the development of the business case agree, “If anyone thinks safety is too expensive, they need to measure the cost of an unsafe operation, workplace injuries and fatalities against the cost of education and effective policies.”
Download Distracted Driving Workplace Safety Policies: A business case for employers:

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