Posted: May 15, 2017

Let's face it, distracted driving -- particularly cell phone use -- has become an epidemic in the United States. Drivers throughout the country, including here in Indiana, find it difficult to put down their cell phones while they drive. You may only take your attention off the road for a few seconds, but it only takes seconds for accidents to happen.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving takes approximately eight lives every day and injures 1,000 people across the country each day. That may not seem like a lot considering the population of the country, but over the course of 365 days in the year, around 365,000 people will suffer injuries, and at least 2,920 people will die. One of those statistics could include you or someone you love.

A "new" approach to the problem

A man who lost his 12-year-old son to a distracted driver began a campaign to convince employers to prohibit cell phone use in company vehicles. He believes that once employees adjust to such a prohibition, it could carry over into their personal lives and start a trend of people putting down their cell phones while they drive -- whether in a company vehicle or a personal vehicle.

Apparently, this approach led to the seat belt laws that currently exist. Employers required workers to buckle up in company vehicles, and the trend spread to the point that lawmakers decided to get on board. Now, everyone knows that not wearing a seat belt could lead to a traffic citation. The data also shows that doing so saves lives.

Some businesses already ban cell phone use in company vehicles and on company time. In fact, before one company rolled out its ban in 2012, its CEO refrained from using his cell phone while driving for 90 days. He did not even use a hands-free device.

Using science to make the point

Those who favor a business cell phone ban turn to science to make their point. A video shown to employees illustrates how the human brain cannot perform more than one cognitively challenging task at the same time. You may not realize it, but even talking on the phone, let alone texting, increases your risk of a crash by four times.

Show the companies the money

Profits remain a driving force in any company, and illustrating the monetary savings for a company is paramount when requesting a policy change. Productivity concerns may prevent a company from considering such a ban, but a study done in 2009 found that productivity only dropped one percent. In addition, workers who cause accidents on company time end up costing employers as well. Time away from work, workers' compensation claims and legal actions from victims could drop. 

What if you suffered injuries or a loss due to a distracted driver?

Until plans such as this man's significantly reduce the number of drivers who are distracted by their cell phones, far too many accidents will still occur. If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one to a distracted driver, you undoubtedly face substantial financial hardships as a result. Medical costs, time off work and other financial losses add up at an alarming rate.

You may be able to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the distracted driver who caused your losses. Gathering and presenting the appropriate evidence to the court could make the difference between a successful claim that results in the court awarding you compensation and a distracted driver getting away with it. An attorney can prove a powerful ally in the filing and litigating of such a claim.