NETS survey of leading employers’ mobile phone policies shows common trend
February 25, 2010
Vienna, VA— A survey by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) of 24 leading companies that operate fleets shows that 74 percent either have policies in place or are planning to implement policies that ban the use of all mobile devices while driving company vehicles. The rules apply to both hand-held and hands-free devices.
While all of the companies surveyed ban hand-held mobile devices, which would prohibit texting, most companies have specific language in their policies regarding text messaging. In many cases, the policies apply whether the driver is operating a company-owned vehicle or is using a personal vehicle for company business.
Many of the companies surveyed have been pioneers in the effort to counter distracted driving, with policies banning all use of mobile phones implemented as early as 2004.
“Companies that operate in multiple state jurisdictions or where drivers are likely to cross state lines to conduct business cannot rely on state legislation alone to keep employees safe and protect their bottom line,” said Jack Hanley, Executive Director of NETS. “Employers are implementing these policies to protect their employees and because it is the responsible thing to do.”
Research has shown that the best model to change behavior is education combined with legislation and enforcement. As a means of enforcement, some companies have a zero-tolerance policy resulting in termination for employees who use their mobile phones while driving company vehicles. Companies surveyed also reinforce the importance of attentive driving through workplace safety campaigns and continuous training.
This survey is a follow-up to an earlier NETS benchmarking study of leading companies with a combined 2008 US-based fleet of 185,000 passenger vehicles. That study found that a total ban on mobile phone use was a common attribute of the companies with the best road safety performance.
Participants in the survey included global leaders in the pharmaceutical, packaging, food and beverage, oil and gas, manufacturing, and insurance industries. A summary of the 24 policies submitted is available on the NETS Website.
NETS is a 501(c)3 organization, a partnership between the U.S. federal government and leading companies including Abbott, AmeriFleet Transportation, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Chubb Group of Insurance, Johnson & Johnson, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Monsanto Company and UPS. Established in 1989, NETS is dedicated to improving the safety and health of employees, their families, and members of the communities in which they live and work by preventing traffic crashes both on- and off-the-job. For more information about NETS, visit www.trafficsafety.org.