Employers Being Held Liable for Cell Phone CrashesJuly 10, 2019 | Category: Automobile Accidents | Share
Businesses first started using “car phones” as a means of increasing productivity and extending communication with their employees during driving time. The evolution of car phones brought us cell phones which we use today. Research has shown that cell phone use while driving is distracted driving, which is dangerous and illegal in many states.
Employees using their cell phones when they are driving are exposing themselves and others to a significant safety risk. These employees may be commercial drivers or other employees whose work involves driving, such as field salespeople or service technicians.
In this cell phone age, employers need to have specific communicated rules on the use of cell phones while driving for business. The National Safety Council (NSC) said that employers are being held liable for cell phone crashes. It urges employers to set policies that exceed federal and/or local regulations and laws. Should they not have these policies, they may be held liable, if there is an accident resulting from this distracted-driver activity.
Here are three examples from the NSC where businesses were held liable:
- A jury found that a driver and the corporation that owned the vehicle were liable because testimony revealed that the driver may have been talking with her husband on a cell phone at the time of a fatal crash.
- An off-duty police officer was texting moments before a fatal crash, and because he was driving a police cruiser, his employer was held liable.
- An employee was involved in a fatal crash while making “cold calls” as he drove to a non-business-related event on a Saturday night. The firm did not own the phone or the vehicle, but the plaintiff claimed that the company was liable because it encouraged employees to use their “car phones” and lacked a policy governing safe cell phone use.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) urges employers to have cell phone use policies. The SHRM policy template suggests language similar to the following:
“All employees are expected to follow applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations regarding the use of cell phones at all times.
Employees whose job responsibilities include regular or occasional driving and who are issued a cell phone for business use are expected to refrain from using their phone while driving. Use of a cell phone while driving is not required by the company. Safety must come before all other concerns. Regardless of the circumstances, including slow or stopped traffic, employees are required to use hands-free operations or pull off to the side of the road and safely stop the vehicle before placing or accepting a call.”
“If you or a loved one is injured in an accident, please contact our experienced legal team. We are available 24/7, and there are no costs or attorney fees unless we make a monetary recovery for you,” said Naples Personal Injury Attorney Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.
Naples Personal Injury Attorney,Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.