Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, overall driving is down but risky driving is up. A Travelers risk index on distracted driving has some disturbing statistics:
- 39% of the workforce drives for work purposes daily or almost daily, compared to 46% pre-COVID.
- 24% of drivers respond to work-related calls, emails or texts while driving; 46% of these think it might be an emergency, and 29% say their boss will be upset if they don't respond.
- 40% of managers expect employees to answer work calls while driving.
- 27% of managers say an employee had a distraction-related crash while driving.
- Although 73% of companies have a distracted driving policy, 74% do not consider distracted driving a great concern.
Employees are putting themselves at risk by driving distracted, and managers should not be encouraging them. There are steps employees and companies can take to reduce the risk:
- Communicate safe driving policies (57% of respondents say their company does this). One of these policies should be that no employee will be penalized for failure to answer a call. Another should be that managers can only call or text employees while driving in an actual emergency.
- Employees can be required to set their phones to "do not disturb" while driving (only 20% of policies require this).
- Employees who don't have a "hands free" device should pull over to take a call, if safe to do so. On long trips they can pull into a parking lot or rest area to check in with the office.
Distracted driving is a serious problem. Don't risk death or injury to answer a call.