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Credit: Erica Benson

Credit: Erica Benson

Terrell Hogan attorney, Leslie Goller, was the guest speaker at the Women Business Owners of North Florida’s (WBO) May meeting. Goller addressed the danger and risk of distracted driving. Her message: we have only one job behind the wheel, drive safely; our brains are not meant to multi-task.

Calls can kill

Goller acknowl­edged many business owners and busy profes­sionals are tempted to use the time alone in our cars to return calls. She explained, though, that when we’re talking on the phone and driving, our brains attention switch between the two tasks, resulting in tunnel vision and missing visual cues. An example is the common experience of missing an exit while talking on the phone. Our brain’s primary attention is the call, not the driving, and that’s backwards. She said while almost everyone knows the dangers of texting and driving, many don’t realize that calls can kill – even hands-free/blue tooth calls.

Risks to business owners

She empha­sized the risks business owners face if they or an employee cause a driving distracted accident that injures or kills. These conse­quences include higher insurance rates, civil lawsuits, punitive damages and OSHA fines and loss in produc­tivity.

Brand damage

You’ve all worked hard to build your brands and do so many wonderful things in the community,” Goller said. “One bad distracted driving accident grabbing the headlines could wipe that all out and tarnish your brand,” she said. The message resonated with the 80 attendees. One business owner said she hadn’t realized the risk she created by talking on the phone while driving, but that night she drove home with her cell phone locked in the trunk to avoid temptation.

Goller delved into solutions, partic­u­larly imple­menting and enforcing a company distracted driving policy. Wayne Hogan recently helped the City of Jacksonville craft such a policy for its employees. More infor­mation is available on Terrell Hogan’s website.

The Terrell Hogan Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign offers two compli­mentary distracted driving presen­ta­tions: “For the Workforce” for businesses, civic groups and churches, and EndDD, for students.