Nevada OSHA Encourages Employers to Ban Texting While Driving

June 3, 2011

The Nevada Occupational Health & Safety Section (OSHA) of the Division of Industrial Relations is hoping to stop one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. That’s why it is encouraging employers to protect employees on the road for work by banning texting while driving.

In Nevada, in 2010, 181 collisions and 232 incidences of property damage occurred because of distractions due to the use of cell phones, including telephone calls and texting, and electronic equipment, OSHA said. Three people died in 2010 as a result of cell phone usage while driving.

The agency believes employers are pivotal to the effort to keep the roadways safe from distracted driving because of their legal obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) to protect workers’ safety. Thus, it has launched a campaign to reach out to employers statewide to remind them that their obligation applies to all employees, including those who do work behind the wheel, regardless of whether they work full-time or intermittently. The agency is asking employers to declare their vehicles “text free zones,” as well as to provide worker education and policies that explicitly ban texting while driving.

Companies are in violation of the OSH Act if, by policy or practice, they require texting while driving, create incentives that encourage or condone it, or structure work such that texting is practical necessity for workers to do their jobs, the agency warned.

Additionally, Nevada OSHA is encouraging workers to let the agency know if their employer is requiring them to text while behind the wheel, whether by policy or practice. Credible complaints will be investigated and, when warranted, issued citations and penalties.

Nevada OSHA noted that the Department of Transportation (DOT), as well as federal OSHA, have distracted driving information on their Web sites. provides extensive information on their webpage distraction.gov. Federal OSHA has created their own distracted driving webpage that explains employers’ roles in addressing this life-threatening behavior. Also on the Web page is a Distracted Driving: No Texting brochure, which explains the importance of never requiring employees to text.

For information on the no texting while driving campaign and Nevada OSHA, visit http://dirweb.state.nv.us/OSHA/osha.htm.

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