EH&S Insider Blog

Cell Phone Driving Policy

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In the United States motor vehicle accidents cost $100 billion annually. In 2012, According to official US Government website, 421,000 people were injured and 3,328 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include but are not limited to: 

The best way to end distracted driving is to educate about the danger it poses and provide a clear company policy prohibiting such activities while driving. 

For Example - Should the Company Have a Cell Phone and Driving Policy?

If employees use either their own cell phone or a company provided cell phone for work, the company most likely needs a policy in place that prohibits the use of the cell phone while driving for the company. Even if your state does not restrict cell phone use while driving, studies have repeatedly shown that using a cell phone while behind the wheel to be a major distraction and dangerous. This includes any use of the cell phone, such as - talking, texting, or searching the web. 

See Fatal Injury Trends in the Workplace, 1992–2011

If an employee causes an accident while doing business on a cell phone, the company may be held liable for damages.

Here are two examples of companies being held liable for damages:

  • An employee of a paper company was using her company cell phone when she rear-ended a vehicle on the freeway which lead to the other driver losing her arm, among other injuries. The company settled the case for the amount of $5 million.

  • A stock broker was driving to a non-work related event and using his own cell phone to call a potential client while driving. He struck and killed a motorcyclist. The plaintiff argued the brokerage firm should be found liable because it encouraged employees to use their cell phones for work without training them on safety issues. The brokerage firm settled the case out of court.

As we continue to see an increase in demand for instant communication and information in the work place, a company Cell Phone and Driving Policy is quickly becoming a necessity as a means to improve employee safety and reduce company liability and risk.

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Topics: Driver Safety Safety Training