Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called distracted driving a “deadly epidemic,” but people can’t seem to ignore their cell phones while behind the wheel. The New York Times’ Matt Richtel points out that bosses often require their workers to check cell phones or on-board computers while driving:
Truckers, plumbers, delivery drivers and others are tethered to dispatchers with an array of productivity devices, including on-board computers that send instructions about the next job and keep tabs on drivers’ locations. Such devices can require continual attention — distracting drivers who are steering the biggest vehicles on American roads.
The good news is that some companies are banning the use of cell phones while driving – and, presumably, not expecting employees to respond to calls or emails when they’re on the road. Two companies interviewed for the story, AMEC and ExxonMobil, said their workers’ productivity hasn’t suffered since they implemented their bans.
In other news:
Christian Science Monitor: Three weeks ago, part-time Census worker Bill Sparkman was found dead in Clay County, Kentucky, where he had gone to conduct surveys. His body was found hung from a tree, with the word “fed” was scrawled across his chest – but police still seem reluctant to call it a homicide.
New York Times: New York’s State Health Department is requiring all hospital, home health and hospice workers to get seasonal and swine flu vaccinations – but many workers protest that vaccination shouldn’t be mandatory.
Washington Post: So far this year, eight apparently suicidal people have placed themselves on Metro train tracks. Train drivers who are powerless to stop their trains before hitting people often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and find it difficult to return to their work.
The Oregonian: The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating the Army’s handling of allegations that contractor KBR knowingly exposed soldiers to dangerous levels of hexavalent chromium while they were stationed at an Iraq water plant.
Associated Press: Cintas employee Eleazar Torres Gomez was killed in a drying machine in 2007, and his widow, Amalia Diaz Torres, sued the company over the dangerous work practices that led to his death. Now, she’s requesting that a federal judge unseal evidence from her lawsuit so that the public can learn the complete story behind the case.