Any business whose employees drive or use the telephone should probably consider having a written policy on cell phone use while driving.
Why? Because if an employee causes an accident while driving on business…or causes an accident while driving on their own time, but while texting or making a phone call related to the business…then it’s possible that someone who was injured in the accident will sue the company, and try to hold it liable as well as the employee.
This is especially true now that more and more states are passing laws limiting texting and talking while driving. If an injured person can show that the employee violated a law, it makes it that much easier to sue.
Having a written policy in place can help protect the company by showing that that it did everything it could to encourage safety, and that an employee who caused an accident was violating company policy.
Of course, such a policy could also help prevent accidents in the first place.
A policy is especially important for businesses whose workers who are regularly on the road, such as salespeople, delivery drivers, plumbers and electricians, home health workers and others.
A policy should start by saying that employees are required to follow any laws pertaining to texting and talking while driving.
Beyond that, it’s a question of balancing safety with the business’s needs. For instance, a policy might say that employees are not allowed to text while driving, and that they can use a cell phone only if they have a hands-free device. Or it might say that employees should pull over if they need to make a substantive phone call lasting more than a minute or two.
Having a written policy in place (and training employees about it) is an important first step to preventing both accidents and lawsuits.