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What should we do? Our work requires talking on cellphones while driving

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Q. The animal care officers who work for us spend 80% of their time driving and responding to rescue calls via cellphone. Requiring them to pull off the road while talking on their phones wouldn’t work. Is there another way to limit our liability?

A. At a minimum, you should adopt a cellphone policy that requires employees to use hands-free technology when speaking on the phone and to use caution when driving.  

Ideally, the policy would also state that employees:

  • Are not expected to talk on the phone while driving as part of their work responsibilities
  • Should keep any calls short
  • Should keep their eyes on the road at all times.

Although you say that it would not be practical to re­­quire employees to pull off the road to talk on the phone, expecting them to talk while driving could result in a claim against your company if an employee is involved in an accident that results in injury or damage.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Don Sinclair April 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I agree with Terry, anything less than No Phine Use While Operating Vehicle is a weak policy.


terry hoyle December 19, 2012 at 8:47 am

I would suggest to companies that they adopt a more stringent cell phone policy such as no cell phone usage while the vehicle is in motion as compared to driving with hands free devices. From a liability perspective, the opportunity is severe for companies that do not have a no cell phone policy. Studies have proved that driving hands free on a cell phone is similarly risky and provides significant distraction to the driver as well. Look at the Coco Cola case that settled for 20+ million earlier this year as an example: http://www.businessfleet.com/Channel/Safety-Accident-Management/News/Story/2012/05/Jury-Awards-21M-to-Woman-Struck-by-Coca-Cola-Truck-in-Distracted-Driving-Case.aspx?interstitial=1


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