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Are employers required to ban texting while driving?

by on
in Employment Law,Human Resources

The legal wall against texting while driving is building. In 2009, an executive order prohibited federal employees from doing it. In 2010, federal regulations made it illegal for commercial truck and bus drivers to do it. And laws in at least 30 states make it unlawful for all drivers to text in the driver’s seat.

But what about drivers who aren’t covered under any of those laws? OSHA recently issued an open letter to employers saying the “general duty” clause could cover violations for employers that allow workers to text while driving.

OSHA’s letter said the message to employers is simple: “It is your responsibility and legal obligation to have a clear, unequivocal and enforced policy against texting while driving. … Companies are in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act if, by policy or practice, they require texting while driving, or create incentives that encourage or condone it, or they structure work so that texting is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their jobs.”

The letter asks employers to “immediately remove any incentives that may motivate employees to text while behind the wheel.”

Online resource: Find a list of state cell phone and texting laws for drivers at www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo.

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