Posts Tagged ‘It Can Wait’

Texting Can Wait!

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Texting: It Can Wait!In Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery, I advised of the risks to your company when employees use their personal automobiles for business purposes. It is not just company-owned or leased vehicles that expose you to liability risk! Now businesses are focusing on a new emerging threat arising from driving: accidents caused by employees distracted by cell phone use. The National Safety Council estimates that 1.2 million automobile accidents, one-quarter of all yearly accidents, involve cell phone usage. Prudent companies aren’t waiting for legislatures to pass laws banning the use of cell phones (either voice conversations or texting) while driving; they are taking proactive measures to enhance safety.

Consider the policies of AT&T, which is not only a large corporate employer, but also a major cell phone service carrier. It has revised its corporate policies and engaged its nearly 250,000 employees in its “Texting & Driving? It Can Wait” campaign, which includes:

  • Engaging the teenaged children of AT&T employees in a youth advisory council to help refine messaging to be delivered to classmates in their own schools, advising of the hazards of texting or calling while driving.
  • Creating a resource center of information available for download to educate about driver safety with the use of cell phones.
  • Branding more than 2,000 company vans and trucks across 50 top markets with the “It Can Wait” message.
  • Developing a pledge to refrain from texting while driving and promoting it on the company Facebook page where over 11,000 individuals have already signed their commitments.
  • Providing information on product packaging and retail displays in over 2,000 company stores to educate about the “It Can Wait” campaign.
  • Donating $1.25 million to non-profit organizations promoting safe driving practices.

AT&T is to be commended for proactively addressing a risk arising from irresponsible use of its mobile telephones. That risk isn’t limited to driving, however. Employees operating hazardous equipment, such as in certain manufacturing facilities, or performing other functions where concentration and attention are critical, should also be advised to refrain from using their cell phones while working. To protect your small business and your employees, you should create a policy around the use of mobile telephones, particularly those phones that are owned or paid for by the company. It is important to give guidance to your employees and to document that you provided such guidance. You may want to refresh the policy on your company web site or Intranet or e-mailing it to employees as well as updating the company handbook. Emphasize that the message of “It Can Wait” is not just limited to the risks of teens texting while driving!