Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Are your policies updated to account for Ohio’s new ban on texting while driving?

The statistics are enough to scare anyone from texting while driving:

  • Drivers are 23 times more likely to crash while texting and driving.
  • If you only take your eyes off the road for five seconds, at 55 mph, you’ve traveled the length of football field.

As of last week, there is a reason besides safety not to text and drive in Ohio—it’s against the law.

House Bill 99 took effect August 31, and criminalizes texting while driving. It creates two levels of violations—one for adults and one for minors.

  • Adult drivers face a $150 fine for texting or reading/sending email. It is a secondary offense, which means that police can only ticket if you are pulled over for another reason.
  • Minors are prohibited from using any mobile communication device while operating a motor vehicle. If you are under 18, this means no texting, emailing, talking on the phone, or using a GPS, even while sitting at a traffic light or stuck in traffic. Also, it is a primary offense, carrying mandatory and escalating fines and suspensions.

What does all this mean for employers? If you have employees driving for your business, you should update your policies to account for this new law. Remind employees that texting while driving is not only against the law, but also against company policy. Your insurance carriers, and, believe it or not, your employees and their families, will thank you.