Maintaining awareness to every potential hazard present at many construction work sites is difficult even on those days when you feel focused. These days, more and more employers and their employees rely on cell phones and other electronic devices to get the job done and distractions linked to their use play a role in reducing risk awareness.
Studies show that contractors’ job-related use of smart phones has increased 35% and use of tablets rose nearly 54% from 2011 to 2012. The prevalence of electronic devices as part of work tasks creates the potential for losing situational awareness, which has a potentially negative impact on workers in the construction industry.
The Bureau of Labor statistics (BLS) data shows that fatal injury rates among construction workers is almost three times that of all occupations. In 2013, highway, street and bridge workers represented 8% of all construction work fatalities, 65% were involved in traffic incidents and 17% came into contact with objects and equipment. Even higher percentages of workers in all categories suffered non-fatal injuries. Loss of situational awareness undoubtedly contributed to many of these worker accidents and the culprit may be one of many devices used by workers.
It is believed that multi tasking, such as talking on the phone while working, impairs performance. On the job use of electronic devices can lead to inattention or “change blindness”, which is an inability to encode visual information received due to a mental work overload. In a construction setting, the added mental workload can mask imminent dangers such as equipment and traffic or lead to unsafe behaviors such as falls or unintentional walking into hazardous areas.
Given the prevalence of electronic devices on job sites, employers are well-advised to provide guidance to their workers in order to raise safety awareness when using electronic devices on the job. If you or a family member has been injured in a construction workplace accident, contact the personal injury workers compensation law offices of John T. Hemminger for help.
Texting while driving is one of those things that many people claim ‘not to do’ when, in fact, it happens all too frequently. There seems to be a good amount of denial at work among drivers of all ages.
We know the dangers of distracted driving, yet many will at least steal a glance at an an incoming message while flying down the highway, while others engage in full blown text exchanges. Unfortunately, while many claim to ‘not text while driving’ the practice has become the leading cause of car accidents and the #1 killer of teens in America.
You don’t have to wait long for the ‘phenomena of denial’ surrounding texting while driving to appear in yet another news report:
Texting while driving is perhaps one of the riskiest activities that can lead to car wrecks and so far the measures taken against it are not altogether effective. A good first step would be to acknowledge ‘doing it’ in the first place.
Sources: KCCI.com, Bus Driver Fired for Texting While Driving Speaks Out”, by Mark Tauscheck, May 18, 2016.; The Charlotte Observer, “She Survived Her First driving-while-texting Accident – But Not Her Second”, accessed May 18, 2016.;
Iowa appears to be losing ground in its efforts to curb drunk driving. Fatalities attributed to driving while intoxicated climbed to 123 last year and drunk drivers caused nearly 40 percent of all Iowa traffic fatalities.
Despite the increase in drunk driving fatalities over previous years, Iowa license revocation has dropped even as the number of drunk driving incidences grow. Some attribute this to reduced law enforcement due to budget cuts and would like to see more funding put toward increased law enforcement efforts across the state.
Others believe the solution to drunk driving would be to require ignition interlock devices for first time offenders. Interlock devices prevent those with an unacceptable BAC from starting their cars keeping Iowa roads safer. Currently 23 states have mandatory ignition interlock provisions for all levels of intoxicated driving – Iowa requires the devices for repeat offenders only.
In response to the growing problem, officials announced today the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau’s first-of-its-kind-in-Iowa Impaired Driving Coalition in an effort to reduce impaired driving across the state.
The task force which includes members of various organizations such as the Department of Public Safety, Department of Corrections, the DOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will review existing Iowa laws, data and programs and propose a coordinated plan to stop impaired driving.
If you or a family member has been injured in an Iowa drunk driving accident, contact the Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help today. Attorney Hemminger has handled personal injury and wrongful death litigation for more than 30 years. He has the trial and bargaining experience to help you reach a settlement that will compensate you for your injuries and punish those responsible.
Source: KCCI, “New state, county, city plan to target impaired drivers across Iowa”, May 9, 2016.
In yet another example of the dangers of distracted driving and the grave consequences that can follow, a Georgia teen is being sued for recklessly using Snapchat while driving, which resulted in a car accident that severely injured another motorist. Snapchat is also being sued for negligence in the case.
Prior to the car accident last year, the young driver began using a snapchat filter that clocks the speed of vehicles spurring her on to higher speeds, despite the pleas of her passenger to slow down. Just prior to the accident, the driver reached speeds of 107mph before slamming into the back of a man’s car leaving him with traumatic brain injuries.
Because of cases like this and the well-known dangers associated with driving while distracted, many are pushing for stricter laws to discourage smart phone use while driving. Currently, fourteen states prohibit the use of hand-held devices by drivers, and 46 ban texting.
Texting while driving is illegal in Iowa but, the state’s ‘secondary’ texting law means that a law enforcement officer can only issue a ticket for texting if the officer witnesses a separate violation in addition to texting while driving. Some believe the law does not go far enough to protect motorists in the state.
Source: New York Times, Snapchat at 107 M.P.H.? Lawsuit Blames Teenager (and Snapchat), by Katie Rogers, May 3, 2016
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