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Debra Bulak, SJC Chamber of Commerce, Isabelle Rodriguez, SJC Chamber of Commerce President, Wayne Hogan, Ed Mercel, SJC Chamber of Commerce, Ponte Vedra Division Board Chair.

Debra Bulak, SJC Chamber of Commerce, Isabelle Rodriguez, SJC Chamber of Commerce President, Wayne Hogan, Ed Mercel, SJC Chamber of Commerce, Ponte Vedra Division Board Chair.

On Thursday, Wayne Hogan spoke to 70 members of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce — Ponte Vedra Division and JAX Chamber Beaches Division at its joint luncheon. Topic: the dangers and conse­quences of distracted driving. He called distracted driving an epidemic that kills more people in the U.S. each year than Polio did in the worst year of that epidemic.

He said it’s under­standable that adult drivers are tempted to use their car time to return calls, but using the phone while driving can kill. That’s because our brains only focus on one task at a time. When we’re driving, it attention switches between the two tasks. Our brain is on the call and not on driving. We get tunnel vision and miss visual cues. Hogan asked the audience if anyone ever missed an exit while talking on the phone. Many nodded yes.

IMG_1243While everyone knows the dangers of texting and driving, many don’t realize that hands-free calls are just as dangerous as hand-held calls. Making matters worse, drivers are tempted by the latest dashboard technology in new automo­biles. One audience member showed a plastic ring he wears on his thumb – with the message “W8 2 txt” — reminding him not to text and drive.

Risks to Business Owners

Hogan also empha­sized that one bad accident could harm a company’s brand and bottom line. He said the conse­quences of distracted driving are serious and may include higher insurance rates, civil lawsuits, punitive damages – which are not insurable — OSHA fines and produc­tivity loss. Employees could also face manslaughter/vehicular homicide charges if texting while driving kills someone.

End Distracted Driving

Hogan is honored to be part of the organi­zation EndDD  or End Distracted Driving. Estab­lished to raise awareness and generate action against the distracted driving epidemic, it was created by Joel and Dianne Feldman in memory of their daughter, Casey. She was killed by a distracted driver as she was walking in a cross walk.

When Hogan began speaking to students about distracted driving, he realized it wasn’t only teens using phones when they drive. Millions of adults were doing it too. That’s why he created a presen­tation For the Workforce. It explores the conse­quences and recent court cases that hold employers and employees respon­sible when distracted driving causes a wreck. The presen­tation also explores the issues involved in creating and imple­menting cell phone use policies and identifies some used by some companies.Distracted Driving
In 2015, Hogan worked with the City of Jacksonville to adopt a compre­hensive policy against distracted driving.

To request a compli­mentary For the Workforce presen­tation for your company or organi­zation, call (904) 722‑2228.  One text or call can wreck it all.

Local attorney urges Chamber of Commerce members to implement policies on distracted driving