Distracted Driving: No Texting

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Summary Statement

This OSHA pamphlet points out the very real dangers of distracted driving, which was responsible for more than 3,000 deaths and 416,000 injuries in 2010. OSHA notes that reaction time is delayed for a driver talking on a cell phone as much as it is for a driver who is legally drunk. The agency recommends that employers prohibit texting while driving and create a distracted driving policy for the company.

Graphic-Distracted driving no text


Businesses can help solve this big problem.

Workers’ safety is your business

Texting while driving puts millions of Americans who drive on the job at risk every day. That risk continues to grow as texting becomes more widespread.

As a business owner or manager, it’s your legal responsibility under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to safeguard drivers at work.

This holds true whether they drive full-time or only occasionally to carry out their work, and whether they drive a company vehicle or their own. When your workers are behind the wheel doing your company’s work, their safety is your business.

That’s why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which enforces worker safety laws, has joined with the Transportation Department, other Labor Department agencies and key associations and organizations to enlist the help and cooperation of businesses – large and small – in a nationwide outreach, education, and enforcement effort to stop the dangerous practice of texting while driving.

OSHA is prepared to act quickly. When OSHA receives a credible complaint that an employer requires texting while driving or organizes work so that texting is a practical necessity, we will investigate and will issue citations and penalties where necessary to end this practice.

Safety at work is no accident

Building a workplace culture of safety requires clear, explicit policies and sound practices. Send a clear message to workers and supervisors that your company neither requires nor condones texting while driving.

Employers should:

  • Prohibit texting while driving. OSHA encourages employers to declare their vehicles “text-free zones” and to emphasize that commitment to their workers, customers, and communities.
  • Establish work procedures and rules that do not make it necessary for workers to text while driving in order to carry out their duties.
  • Set up clear procedures, times, and places for drivers’ safe use of texting and other technologies for communicating with managers, customers, and others.
  • Incorporate safe communications practices into worker orientation and training.
  • Eliminate financial and other incentive systems that encourage workers to text while driving.

How OSHA helps

OSHA’s distracted driving web page (www.osha.gov/distracted-driving/ index.html) provides useful resources, including:

  • a model policy to use or adapt for your business
  • information about how employers are combating this hazard
  • research findings
  • educational materials

The U.S. Department of Transportation website (www.distraction.gov) provides updates and information on the national campaign to prevent distracted driving.

graphic-driving distracted

Additional assistance

OSHA’s consultation program can help small and medium-sized businesses, at no cost, keep workers safe by providing:

  • free and confidential advice
  • on-site consultation
  • assistance with identifying workplace hazards
  • advice on compliance with OSHA standards
  • assistance with safety and health programs

To learn more about how OSHA can help, visit www.OSHA.gov or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). TTY 1-877-889-5627.

Dangers of distracted driving

  • Distracted driving crashes killed more than 3,000 people and injured 416,000 in 2010.
  • Reaction time is delayed for a driver talking on a cell phone as much as it is for a driver who is legally drunk.
  • More texting leads to more crashes. With each additional 1 million text messages, fatalities from distracted driving rose more than 75%.
  • People under the age of 20 are involved in more fatal crashes due to distractions than any other age group.
  • Studies show that drivers who send or receive text messages focus their attention away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, this is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded!

graphic-distracted dringin

Healthier Workers Safer Workplaces A Stronger America.

“It is well recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of a motor vehicle injury or fatality. We are asking employers to send a clear message to workers and supervisors that your company neither requires nor condones texting while driving.”

David Michaels, PhD, MPH
Assistant Secretary
Occupational Safety and Health Administration

If you have questions or need more information, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). TTY 1-877-889-5627.