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Employer Liability in Distracted Driving Accidents

Driving is a vital part of many different jobs. Whether it’s a service technician, delivery person, or even a rideshare driver, more and more employees are required to carry a communication device of some sort with them. Cell phones, two-way radios, or even computers and tablets are all fairly common parts of commercial vehicles nowadays. While this has made running a business more seamless and effortless than ever, it’s also led to a sharp rise in distracted driving accidents.

Employer Liability

It’s pretty common knowledge just how dangerous using an electronic communication device while driving can be. However, despite this knowledge, it’s surprising how common it is that employers require their workers to carry one with them and use it while driving. This is especially true because an employer whose employee was using this device for a work-related function could potentially be held liable if that employee causes an accident.

It continues to be amazing how many employers continue to not only condone this risk-increasing behavior, but also continue to require it. In nearly any other aspect of employment, if something increased the risk of injury by a factor of four, most companies wouldn’t sit idly while it happened. And yet that’s what every company who requires cell phone use while driving during work hours does.

Recommendation from the NSC

The National Safety Council has made a strong recommendation that employers institute a total cell phone ban for employees who are on the clock. While each company’s rules should differ and vary to support their culture and their exact needs, the NSC report listed a few features that every policy should contain:

  • Total ban on all handheld and hands-free devices
  • Ban applies to all employees
  • Ban applies in all company vehicles
  • Ban applies to all company-provided cell phone devices
  • Ban on all work-related communication, even on personal devices and vehicles

With June being National Safety Month, now may be the perfect time to start developing a plan to ensure driving employee safety. Instituting a rule like this may take some adjustment, particularly since cutting off a line of communication with employees can be tricky when a company may need to be able to react to changes within minutes. However, the NSC also believes that education and enforcement as well as monitoring policy effectiveness can dramatically reduce the risk for employees and other drivers on the road.

Injured in a car accident as a result of someone using their cell phone or another wireless device? Call Dean Law Firm now at (432) 214-8125 for a case evaluation and let us help you fight to preserve your rights to compensation!