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The Dangers of Staying Connected

Jul 13th, 2012 | By | Category: Geri Roskopf's Blog

The other day as I was driving, there was a semi tractor/trailer weaving all over the road. My first thought was that he was falling asleep. I wasn’t sure if I should try and pass him as he was swerving pretty far into the left lane, but decided the sooner I got past him the better. As I passed him, I realized he wasn’t falling asleep — he was on his cell phone.

Cell phones are everywhere. It’s a great way for communication between the dispatcher and the driver, but there is a potential safety risk, as noted above. By being on his cell phone, this driver was not fully concentrating on the road, the other drivers and vehicles around him, his speed and traffic congestion.

I think everyone knows it’s not safe to use cell phones to text and talk while driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set some pretty significant penalties — truck drivers can be fined $2,750 for talking on a phone while driving and the possibility of losing their CDL for multiple offenses. In addition, the company they drive for can be fined up to $11,000 if they allow their driver to use a cell phone while driving.

Telling your drivers to not use their cell phone when driving a commercial vehicle is good, and a written company policy is even better, but enforcing this new policy is the challenge.

I think one of the keys to accomplish this is to let your employees know you are monitoring their behavior. I am not sure auditing their cell phone use is the answer, but they know they can’t speed and not pay a penalty. I believe they can change their behavior if they know their behavior is being measured and you are watching.

Safety has to continue to be top priority. Let’s stay connected and not be a statistic.