You know texting while driving is dangerous, but sometimes you can’t help checking your boss’s email while you’re on the road. Over 80 percent of 94 million cell phone owners in the U.S. use their phones while driving. But doing so can ruin your life and career. When you drive around a lot for work, you might see your cell phone as a way to connect with your employers and stay up-to-date on work tasks as well as notifications. But the risks of using your cell phone far outweigh the benefits, both on a personal and business level. Here’s why.
You’re mistaken if you think a cell phone ban would reduce your productivity. When the National Safety Council surveyed 469 members that were following total cell phone bans, only 1 percent experienced decreased productivity. In fact, it might be that using your phone is making you a less efficient worker.
When you reply really quickly to messages at red traffic lights, this haste could cause you to make errors and not read messages properly. So, instead of saving you time, you’re actually forced to re-read the messages and fix errors later when you’re not multi-tasking. This can make you come across as a sloppy, unfocused employee, ruining your reputation.
Sending or reading a text while driving takes your eyes off the road for a mere five seconds. But that’s long enough to cover an entire football field when driving at 55 mph. It’s really easy to get involved in a collision, and if you do, the consequences can be serious. You could end up facing individual civil and criminal liability for damages.
It’s not just your life that’s in the balance every time you use your phone while driving. What about the lives of other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians? In 2014, distracted driving contributed to 3,179 deaths all over the U.S. — these could have been prevented.
In 2013, a jury awarded $2.5 million for damages that were caused by an employee who was driving a work vehicle and was alleged to be using his cell phone at the time he had an accident. His employer had to accept liability.
If you’re on company time or doing a work-related errand when you get into an accident, your employer is potentially liable for your cell phone usage, especially if he/she hasn’t prohibited “texting while driving” policies. By using your phone on the road, you risk dragging other people into your mess if you get into an accident.
If you’re speaking on your phone while driving for work, you might not cause an accident but you could still experience trouble. In the U.S., 15 states ban handheld mobile phones and penalties for using your phone if you get caught range from $20 to $250 — and that’s just for a first offense. You might also get points on your driving record.
As an employee who travels a lot, carrying your phone with you can be valuable in emergency situations, but using it to stay in touch with colleagues or family can prove disastrous. It could take your life or the lives of others, put your employer in hot water, or give you a criminal record. It’s just not worth it.
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