Sunday, March 24, 2013

Don’t be a Distracted Driver

The story goes: a customer is in the tunnel when he gets a phone call on his cell. In the next few minutes he is racing through the wash damaging equipment as he drives off. Thanks to surveillance, he is apprehended later that day. He explains that his girlfriend and he had a huge fight and he just lost it!

Many lives are lost each year due to cell phone use and texting on the highways. But, many claims are beginning to happen at car washes as well. They occur to employees and customers alike and will continue to escalate unless operators/managers establish some policies to minimize this risk.

Here’s a few ideas:


• Insist on a no cell phone use policy while at the wash. This should include all functions of the phone. Make sure there is clear enforcement and a penalty when this is ignored.

• Make sure that the use of MP3 or other music devices is also prohibited. These can also distract workers while driving or directing traffic at the wash.

• Be sure you inform all employees to advise their friends and family of the limitation of cell phone use on the job. Limit messages for any calls to an employee to emergency calls only.

• Be sure to include safety training that advises all employees exactly what the rules are and exactly what the penalties are for any violations.

• Eating and drinking can be a distraction as well. Be sure that employees are not handling either while they are working. They need to be focused on the vehicles on the property.


• Use signage before entering the tunnel or bay alerting them to the risks associated with texting or cell phone use. Their vehicle is not the same as being stopped or pulled over in a stationary position.

• Keep the drivers focused on directions. One operator uses a florescent glove for the employee to use on the hand that directs them onto the conveyor. Another uses hand signals and points to the signs to keep the drivers engaged.

What’s working at your wash? I would love to hear more ideas!