Businesses: Is Your Employee’s Cell Phone Call Worth $6,000,000?
USA today recently did a front page story discussing a landmark 2011 study by AAA investigating the economic cost of fatal car crashes. AAA analyzed the financial damage of traffic crashes in 99 urban areas. The study, which used 2009 data, found that the average cost of a fatal crash was $6,000,000. AAA based its estimates on Federal Highway Administration data that place dollar values on 11 components: property damage; lost earnings; loss of household activities; medical costs; emergency services; travel delays; vocational rehabilitation; lost time at work; administrative costs; legal costs; and pain and lost quality of life.
The purpose of AAA’s study is to push road safety to the forefront in the national transportation debate. According to Chris Plaushin, AAA’s director of federal relations: “We wanted to raise the profile and raise the awareness,” he says. “Right now, it’s jobs, it’s construction, it’s economic growth that are being talked about. This is part of our effort to bang the drum about safety.”
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among people ages 5-34 in the USA. According to attorney Todd Clement, cell phone use and texting while driving are a leading cause of these deaths. The economic cost is clear. The question a business must ask itself when it decides whether to ban cell phone use while driving is whether that phone call is worth $6,000,000?