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R&R Insurance Blog

Fleet Safety | Can You Sustain a $24M Verdict?

Posted by Scott Shaver

Car CrashBack in 2012, Coca-Cola was hit with a $24 Million distracted driving judgment. The plaintiff’s attorneys were able to successfully argue that Coca Cola’s cell policy for drivers was "vague and ambiguous." They also suggested that Coca-Cola was aware of the dangers but withheld this information from its employee driver, which led directly to the circumstances that caused the accident. The jury awarded $14 million in actual damages and another $10 in punitive damages to a woman hit by a Coca-Cola truck driver who was chatting on her cell phone.

Do you have a robust “fleet policy” in place? Are your employees aware of your expectations while driving? Do you periodically provide training to your employees who drive for business, whether in your company vehicle or in their own personal vehicle? If you answered no to any of those questions, you are exposed to a similar Coca-Cola fate.

Having and enforcing a “fleet policy” with a clear expectation on cell phone usage is vital to protecting your employees, the general public, and your company assets.

If you would like to see a sample fleet policy, please click here. It’s just one of the many resources that we share with our clients at R&R as a way of creating value.

Contact me if you would like to learn more about increasing the profitability of your company by proactively controlling risk exposures.

Topics: distracted driving, Fleet Safety

Update on Wisconsin Cell Phone Laws While Driving

Posted by Shirley Poch

iStock_000017977754_Large.jpgIn the midst of summer, many of us are spending long weekends in the car. Whether we're traveling a few hundred miles up north, or a few thousand miles down south, we're probably all looking for a distraction during the drive. While cell phones can provide great entertainment, it's important to remember the laws surrounding their use in vehicles. Below is an update on what is currently prohibited in Wisconsin:

  • Text messaging outlawed for all drivers. Fines from $20 to $400 with a possible 4 points against the driver’s license. Primary enforcement.
  • Drivers with restricted licenses prohibited from using cell phones.
  • Drivers may not watch devices within vehicle providing entertainment through “primarily visual means.”
  • Drivers prohibited from using handheld cell phones in construction zones. Takes effect Oct. 1, 2016.
  • The state outlaws distracted driving, or “being so engaged or occupied as to interfere with the safe driving of that vehicle.” The fine is $173 and 4 points.

Click here to learn more about these laws and the fines associated with them. We hope you have a happy, safe and enjoyable summer with family and friends!

Contact a Knowledge Broker for more information.

Topics: distracted driving, texting and driving, stop distracted driving, cell phones, cell phones and driving

Distracted Driving Causes 8,000 Accidents Every Single Day!

Posted by Bill Katzfey

Truck_AccidentAccording to the AAA Foundation, distracted driving causes about 8,000 accidents every single day! And the CDC reports that more than 15 people are killed and 1,200 injured every day in those accidents. Corporate fleets are not immune from those numbers. You expect your employees to multi-task all the time, but never expect that while they are behind the wheel.

There are three main types of distraction:

  1. Visual – taking your eyes off the road (i.e.: looking at a map or for a landmark or address if the driver is not sure where they are going before the trip)
  2. Manual - taking your hands off the wheel (i.e. reaching for the radio or two way radio while driving)
  3. Cognitive - taking your mind off what you are doing (paying more attention to work situations or the next job site)

Fleet drivers should have one goal and one goal only; operating their vehicle safely and efficiently from point A to point B.

While driving, there should be no other tasks, no other distractions, nothing is more important. R&R Insurance offers Distracted Driving window clings to remind your drivers and others on the road to stop the distraction. Wisconsin businesses, if you would like a sample of our Distracted Driving window clings, use our convenient order form and we will send you a sample - or a few - depending on your needs.

Fleet Safety Essentials – It’s About The Driver!

Top 9 Driving While Texting Infographics

For more information about fleet safety and property casualty insurance, contact knowledgebroker Bill Katzfey.

Topics: distracted driving, Fleet Safety, Fleet Safety Essentials, distracted driving window clings, distracted drivers, Business Insurance, stop distracted driving, Bill Katzfey, distracted driver policy

R&R Offers Schools Free Campaign Kit to Prevent Distracted Driving

Posted by Resource Center

Distracted Driving KitAs an independent insurance agency servicing dozens of public and private schools, and tens of thousands of families in Southeastern Wisconsin, we know first-hand how life can change in an instant. For 2013, we’ve put some muscle behind our campaign to help schools and families prevent distracted driving.

R&R Insurance Services is offering a free Prevent Distracted Driving Campaign Kit to any school, business or family in Southeastern Wisconsin. Our kit includes a poster, two window clings and a pledge card.

Unfortunately, many accidents occur and lives are lost due to something that can be prevented – Distracted Driving! Let’s stay focused behind the wheel and focused towards a common goal to prevent distracted driving.

Request your FREE Stop The Distraction Campaign Kit today and help spread the word. We can work together to Stop The Distraction and Save A Life!

More about R&R Insurance Services' School Practice Group.

Topics: distracted driving, prevent distracted driving, stopit, stop the distraction, R&R School Practice Group

9 Out of 10 Teenage Drivers Are Distracted

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Distracted Teen Driver

In an article by Jacob Hannah for USA TODAY, he states that nearly 9 out of 10 teenage drivers have engaged in distracted-driving behaviors such as texting or talking on a cellphone even though most of them know that their actions increase their risk of crashing.

The survey by Seventeen magazine and auto club AAA highlights the difficulty of the nation's efforts to stop texting while driving, especially among young drivers.

"Teens do continue to drive distracted even when they recognize the dangers," says William Van Tassel, manager of AAA's driver training programs. "Driving is the first real adult responsibility, but let's face it, they're still teens whose brains aren't fully developed."

The online survey of 1,999 teens ages 16-19, conducted in May 2010, found that 84% were aware that distracted-driving behaviors increase their crash risk; yet 86% have engaged in those behaviors, including texting and talking on cellphones, eating, adjusting radios, driving with four or more passengers and applying makeup.

Almost 6,000 highway deaths each year involve distracted driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says.

"Everybody has heard the message that distracted driving can raise your crash risk," Van Tassel says. "They're getting the message, but their personal experience may influence them in the other direction."

That's what happened to Cheyenne Tontegode, 18. She was a passenger in a car driven by a friend last year in their hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, and both girls were texting, Tontegode says.

"She was either texting somebody else, or I was showing her something on my phone," she says. "I looked up and saw that we had started to get over into the other lane. I called her name. She looked up, overcorrected, and we hit an SUV head-on."

Tontegode, who wasn't wearing a seat belt, was in the hospital for 10 days. One of her legs was cracked in 14 places, and she had broken ribs and glass in her eye; her friend was hospitalized for 14 days, she says.

She says she had gotten the texting-while-driving message before the crash.

"Well, yeah. Of course you hear it. You hear it all the time from adults," she says. "But people don't think about it until it happens to them, unless they get the message from another teen. If it happens to another teen, then I think they listen."

Tontegode says she now wears her seat belt "all the time," and her friend "only texts when she's at red lights. The minute it turns green, she puts her phone down and doesn't look at it again until the next red light."

The survey indicates that focusing solely on texting while driving will not eliminate distracted driving among teens. The top three behaviors that respondents had participated in: adjusting a radio/CD/MP3 player (73%), eating (61%) and talking on a cellphone (60%); 28% had sent a text message.

Among the survey's findings:

  • Drivers ages 18-19 are more likely to engage in distracted driving than those 16-17.
  • Teens gave researchers startling reasons why they engage in distracted driving: It takes only a split second (41%); they don't think they'll get hurt (35%); it makes driving less boring (22%); and they're used to being connected to people all the time (21%).
  • Teens driving their own vehicles are more prone to distracted driving than those who share an automobile with others. For instance, 20% of teens who share vehicles had texted while driving, compared with 35% of teens with their own cars.

Useful links for parents of teenage drivers:

Wisconsin residents, contact knowledgebroker Kori Cumley for more information.

Topics: distracted driving, Personal Insurance, young drivers, text and drive, teenagers, texting and driving, teenagers driving, drivers distracted, driving distracted, teen drivers texting, talking on phone, teen drivers, drving distraction