Joel Feldman The Dangers of Conducting Business on the Road

The current generation of cell phones allows employees to work anywhere at any time, and many employers expect that their employees will do just that.  It is expected that all phone calls will be answered and that all texts and emails will be responded to immediately.

But what happens when the employee is driving and responds to a text or is otherwise distracted by work on a cell phone?

A serious accident can result.

Over the last 10 years I have seen ever increasing amounts of accidents, many involving serious injuries and deaths, caused directly by cell phone use of an employee who is on the job. In one case I represented a family after a  dump truck operator crossed the center line of a two-lane road and hit a car coming in the opposite direction killing a 3 year old boy and seriously injuring his 4 year old brother. Tragedies like these are occurring far too frequently. From a legal perspective not only is the employee responsible but also the employer because the driver was distracted by work-related business. Whether the employer demanded that the employee use the phone or even if the employer did not require cell phone use while driving but knew employees were dangerously using their cell phones liability can attach to the employer.

Some employers are actually implementing policies that prohibit cell phone use while on the job. This makes sense to me as an attorney who has seen the disastrous effects of driving while distracted.

If you work for an employer who has the wisdom and foresight to enact these restrictive policies consider yourself fortunate.  Maybe you would like to , with your employer’s permission, share those policies  so that others can see them and urge their employers to do the same.

We all can play a part in preventing distracted driving accidents so that no one needs to consult an attorney in the future.

In many cases, it is the employer who may be liable for any damages caused in an accident since the driver was distracted by work related business.  This may be true even if the employee is driving in his or her own car and it is after business hours.

Likewise, if an employer knew, or should have known, that employees were texting and driving or otherwise distracted by a work on a cell phone while driving and did not take steps to change the conduct then the employer may liable.

In order to prevent such liability, employers should develop written policies regarding cell phone use and driving and encourage employees to abide by those policies.

If you are an employee whose employer is choosing work productivity over safety and encouraging you to use your cell phone while driving, or if you have been the victim of a distracted driving accident, we encourage you to contact Anapol Schwartz for a free consultation.  There is no text, there is no phone call, that is worth taking at the risk of a person’s life.

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