snoopingLet it be known that many writers are basically big snoops. We eavesdrop on juicy conversations we overhear in public, and some of us aren’t above writing those conversations down.

Earlier this week at the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Safety 2013 conference in Las Vegas, I overheard a few interesting snippets of conversations – and I’m not talking about the guy strolling through a casino telling his friend that his life “was going OK, but I might be getting a divorce.”

Instead, I heard a few disturbing admissions about a safety topic near and dear to me: distracted driving.

The first came from a certified safety professional who admitted to a roomful of conference attendees that he reads text messages on his phone even when driving. His reasoning is that he worries about the possibility that his daughter might be texting with an emergency. The following words actually came out of his mouth: “I do it because I care about my children.”

I don’t think I need to point out to our readers that if he truly cared about his children, he wouldn’t put his own life at risk to read texts while driving.

To read more about how I feel about distracted driving excuses, read “Don’t Let Excuses Be Your Distraction” and “Whatever It Takes.” (And I should add that this safety professional at least seemed to realize his behavior might be dangerous; he even said he’d support anti-distracted driving legislation and a program that would disable his phone while driving.)

Sadly, that wasn’t the only concerning comment I overheard related to distracted driving. The next day, as I sat waiting for a session to begin, I listened to a woman tell her seatmate that her company recently implemented a corporate distracted driving policy. According to the policy, employees were banned from texting or talking on the phone while driving. Sounds great, right? Well, unfortunately, it also sounds like this policy doesn’t apply to the organization’s higher-ups:

“It’s a good policy, even though I wish it applied to everyone and that VPs weren’t driving around campus checking their email,” she said.

Very interesting. All I can say is that we won’t be contacting her company for distracted driving safety tips anytime soon.

For more on distracted driving, visit our distraction driving hot topic page. And please, everyone – drive safely.

Busted! Overheard at Safety 2013
EHS Today