The True Cost of Distracted Driving

Friday, April 5, 2019 By Bob Newkirk

In the most recent data available from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health—the price tag for crashes comes at a  heavy burden for Americans at $871 billion in economic loss and societal harm (2014). That is, in terms of the direct economic impact  in addition to rising insurance costs for everyone else resulting from those incidents. 

The Network for Employers Traffic Safety (NETS) reported, “U.S. traffic crashes cost employers $47.4 billion in direct crash-related expenses which include medical care, liability, lost productivity and property damage—and the total calculated costs to employers of crashes caused by distracted driving was $8.2 Billion (2015).  The largest cost, of course, is not only in terms of economic losses but in terms of health and human life.

 

Mobile Apps Beeping... Buzzing... Blinking... Alerting!
Smartphones are the number one distraction causing distracted-driving-related crashes.  When people interact with the multitude of mobile apps—text, email, social media, news, etc.—with ever more hyperlinks, video links and gamification features while driving, everyone ends up paying.  That’s the bottom line.  And if you think it’s bad now, when 5G arrives—live and streaming video, virtual 3D apps, haptics (phone tactile sensations), and many more distractions & alerts will be competing for your attention.

 

Safety Is A Top Priority For Eveyone
Driving risks are constant.  It could be a matter of life or death. A split-second lapse of attention could not only cost thousands of dollars in repair costs, legal and health costs—total damages can run into multi-million dollar settlements.  The fact that the costs associated with these crashes are so high is only a secondary concern, albeit a big one—lives are at stake.  

Who Is Driving “Daily” Beyond Workforce Commuters?
There are an enormous number of daily business-related drivers on the roads today, and that number is growing.  Commercial driving has become the most common & widespread occupation across North America.  Most recently, beyond traditional taxi, shuttle, and bus drivers, millions of new occupational motorists have been added by the advent of rideshare firms (i.e. 50,000+ UBER drivers in Mexico City alone), on top of the growing demand for delivery people (i.e. online: Amazon + traditional retail: Walmart, Grocery, etc.) and the continually prevalent drivers that staff outside sales organizations, government, short-haul and long-haul truck companies.  Every one of these drivers (and their employers) are at risk daily.

 
Commercial Distracted Driving Crash Damages
And on the commercial side, costs and dangers are even much higher.  Truckers and rideshare drivers for example, are not only putting themselves and their vehicles, and others at risk, but they are also placing a risk on passengers and the goods that they are carrying (some of which could affect the environment as well), either of which could have far reaching impacts.

It’s important for companies to understand the legal risks that threaten their businesses every day—and why they are not exempt.  Tort laws known as "negligent entrustment" and "vicarious liability" state a company can be held liable for the negligence of its drivers—and can apply if it is proven a driver was using a cell phone while driving (all-encompassing of company and personal vehicles and devices),

 

Collision Losses, Expenditures & Additional Cost

 
Legal expenses / litigation / protracted legal issues
Vehicle value / crash expenses
Potential loss of life / extended incapacity
Property damage (infrastructure, goods & other)
Workers Comp claims (accident victim & employee)
Bad publicity (negative news & social media buzz)
Medical care / recurrent medical expenses
Production loss / loss of productivity
Increased insurance premiums
Tainted brand / loss of morale / admin time

 

#DistractedDriving #FleetSafety #EverySecondCounts #DriverSafety #Telematics #Mobility #FleetInsurance #RoadSafety #RoadToZero #NOCELL