If you have employees who drive as part of their job, reduce your risks and liability by having a written policy against cell phone use. If one of your employees is involved in an accident, you may incur a workers compensation claim, expenses of hiring and training a replacement if the employee is unable to return to work, and related out-of-pocket costs for repairing or replacing the vehicle and its contents.
If an employee causes an accident due to the distraction of a cell phone, you could likely be held liable for any injuries or damages. Additionally, if you do not have policies or guidelines regulating cell phone use while driving, your liability could be even greater.
Understanding applicable state and federal laws on cell phone use while driving is critical when developing guidelines and a written policy. Here are some sample statements you may choose to include:
- Cell phones are not to be used while driving a vehicle or operating moving machinery, as such distractions can cause accidents and injuries.
- Employees are required to comply with all state and local laws regarding the use of cell phones while driving. If cell phone use is necessary while driving, all employees must use a hands-free device.
- All text messaging, including typing or reading text messages, while operating any vehicle (employer-owned, rented, or personal) when conducting company business is prohibited.
- Any violations of this policy will subject employees to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
The safest and most conservative policy would be to prohibit any use of a cell phone while driving. If you feel your employees need to have access to a phone while driving, you should implement policies that still keep usage within safe parameters, such as hands-free devices. You will lessen the potential liability for both your employees and your company.