“Here, sign this”: a good safety policy or a waste of paper?

We’ve all heard about the dangers of distracted driving, and we WANT our drivers to stay OFF their phones while behind the wheel. The knee-jerk reaction seems to be, “We’ll make ’em sign a policy stating that they understand it is against company rules to use a cell phone while driving a CMV.”


Ah, there’s the rub.

You can SAY you don’t allow it, but HOW do you stop them from using a cell phone when they are not in your sight?

You can use a dash camera, and IF they hit something while talking on a cell phone, you will know it.

You can even stop them from using a company phone by setting the company phone up that way. (Keyboard is locked when it is moving.)


Q:  How can you stop them from bringing their own phone and talking on it?

A: I don’t think you can.


But if they are in a serious collision, the police officer who reports to the scene can see it instantly – there are case studies like this.


So, just making them ‘sign a receipt’ for a “no-cell-phone” policy is not quite enough.

There also needs to be SOME training which is intended to inform and educate and ultimately modify their behavior.

Anything less seems negligent in my opinion.


I simply don’t believe the “Sign this receipt – now you are responsible” practice is a complete solution – it seems as if you are only trying to be able to shift the blame should something happen.


The company is responsible for the driver’s behavior. The decision to hire this employee is based on the company’s approval that this person will follow company policy- and the law.


The usual scenario post-crash goes like this:

If the driver says “Yes, I signed it,” the next question is, “Why did you sign it?”

The answer to the 2nd question is always “Because I wanted a job.”

“Did you read it?” . . . . . “Heck no, I was drivin’!”


How about this scenario instead: As a part of administrative processing, you EXPLAIN the rule to them, then have them sign a statement indicating they understand it and will comply. Then, maybe once or twice a year, you communicate some reinforcement training on the twin topics of talking and texting and how dumb and dangerous it is.

Distracted driving is the new drunk driving.

The “Here, sign this” will always only be a chance for the driver to practice their John Hancock and a waste of paper unless there is meaningful action taken along with it. With a little time & training, though,  it could turn into a good safety policy.

About DOT Compliance Help Inc
Phone: 847-836-6063 web: www.dotcompliancehelp.com e-mail info@dotcompliancehelp.com DOT Compliance Help, Inc. is a full-service consulting firm specializing in the interpretation and execution of the regulations and guidelines set forth by the US Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. •Mission Statement• To assist our clients in establishing proper safety management controls in order to minimize accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The ultimate goals are safer roadways for the public and increased profits for our clients. Our core consulting competencies include FMCSA Assessments (mock audits), DOT compliance training (on-site and via webinar) and custom safety plans and policies. We also hold DOT compliance workshops and conferences all across the country. Utilizing a proprietary curriculum developed by our President, Mike England, our classes cover everything you need to know about the FMCSRs, how to survive your next DOT Compliance Review, and how Comprehensive safety Analysis (CSA 2010) will affect you. www.dotcompliancehelp.com

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