The workforce management company Motus has released its 2018 Distracted Driving Report, and its findings will be of interest to mobile workers across California. The report has connected smartphone ownership with the number of car crashes involving mobile workers. Between 2013 and 2017, the former went up from 55 to 77 percent among mobile workers, while the latter increased from 5.7 million to 6.4 million.

This 12.3 percent increase in car crashes is worrying, especially since mobile employees take 49 percent more trips than any other type of worker. Motus calculated that mobile workers travel 1,200 “distracted miles” every year. In other words, they drive a total of 1,200 miles in a distracted frame of mind.

While other distracting activities, like eating and using a GPS, can affect car crash rates, Motus is clear about the link with smartphone use. The trend goes beyond the mobile workforce with Americans, in general, driving 107 billion phone-distracted miles in 2017.

Mobile workers cost their employers about $4,400 for every car crash they get into. Phone distraction costs employers around $1,680 per driver. Lost productivity is another issue with mobile workers missing 1.65 million work days in 2017. Motus offers proactive assessments, training modules, vehicle record checks and insurance verification in an effort to help businesses cut down on collision rates.

While those tools have proven effective for many, other employers neglect to ensure that their grey fleet drivers are safety minded or even qualified for the job. When a mobile worker’s distracted driving results in a motor vehicle accident, the victim may be able to file a claim against that driver’s employer. The other side likely will be aggressive in denying the claim, so victims will want a lawyer on their side. The statute of limitations is two years for injury claims and three years for property damage claims.