By Brent I. ClarkJames L. CurtisAdam R. Young, and Craig B. Simonsen

Seyfarth Synopsis:  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently rolled out Our Roads, Our Safety, a national safety campaign to raise awareness about sharing the road safely with large trucks and buses. 

The Agency noted that “trucks and buses are much more difficult to maneuver, have massive blind spots, and take far longer to stop.  Awareness of these differences, and some simple adjustments, can help everyone using the roads and keep us all as safe as possible.”  The Agency’s new materials include Voices of Safety public safety awareness video and audio messages, a variety of infographics with messages about the specific operating challenges that buses and trucks face, an Our Roads, Our Safety brochure that shares facts and tips for driving safely around large trucks and buses, a Large Trucks & Buses by the Numbers fact sheet provides high-level crash data and statistics, and Tip Sheets, that are designed for bicyclists and pedestrians, bus and truck drivers, and passenger vehicle drivers.  An issue covered in the materials is distracted driving.  The Agency is providing these materials free-to-use as a way to raise awareness.

Employers regulated by the FMCSA must prioritize policies and training on the safe operation of those vehicles, including a clear prohibition against texting on a hand held cell phone while driving. Failure to address this hazard can result in significant employer liability under the FMCSA, and in tort litigation.

While the FMCSA has updated its distracted driving website, distracted driving is not a new issue. We have blogged previously and frequently on the hazard of distracted driving.  See OSHA Updates on Distracted Driving in Employment and in the Workplace, Cell Phones at the Workplace: Protecting Employee Safety, Employees Using Cellphones And Other Portable Devices While Driving: Should Employers Ban This Completely?, National Safety Council Congress Session on Driving Safety – The Missing Link in Your Company Safety and Health Management Systems, Employees Driving In Illinois? What Employers Need to Know, Have Yourself a Safe, Undistracted, and Accident Free Holiday, President Declares “National Impaired Driving Prevention Month”.

For more information on this or any related topic please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA/MSHA) or Workplace Policies and Handbooks Teams.