How should employers handle new hands-free cell phones law? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

How should employers handle new hands-free cell phones law?

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Q. What are employers’ obligations under the new law requiring drivers to use hands-free cell phones?

Effective July 1, 2008, most Californians will be prohibited from using cell phones in motor vehicles unless they are “specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and [are] used in that manner while driving.” Violating the law carries a $20 fine for the first offense and a $50 fine for each subsequent offense.

The law does not apply to “a person using a wireless telephone for emergency purposes, including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services agency or entity.” An exception also exists for drivers of commercial vehicles and agricultural vehicles using two-way radio cell phones (such as Nextel phones), authorized emergency vehicles, tow trucks and certain transit vehicles.

Prepare for the new law by establishing or revising a cell phone use policy that encourages employees to pull off the road when making or receiving calls.

Consider providing hands-free devices to employees who operate motor vehicles in the course and scope of employment. The phones will minimize distractions during calls and promote compliance with the new law.

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