* With the pervasiveness of cell phones, distracted driving now clearly includes entering phone numbers or talking on a cell phone (even hands-free), texting, e-mailing, etc. Yet, most insurance industry employers do not have a "distracted driving" policy, but rather, have just a hands-free mobile device use policy, if they have a policy at all. As more and more insurance industry jobs require outofoffice jobs including cars, it is imperative to pay attention to liability reducing policies.
Cell Phone Distractions Are Different
Cell phone usage and texting are verifiable. When an accident occurs, records exist that show whether a driver was using a cell phone or not. This can mean trouble for the user's employer if the employee was conducting work on the cell phone, or driving for work, regardless of who owns the car or the phone.
Advice For Cell Phone Use
With the advent of the plaintiffs' bar taking cases against employers, most companies recognize that they should have a complete distracted driving policy. It should be broad enough to cover all forms of distracted driving.
Most importantly, the policy should be practical and enforceable. What is "practical and enforceable" may vary by type of workplace. At a minimum, you should:
* Require employees to comply with applicable state law.
* Encourage employees not to engage in any form of distracted driving.
* Offer basic alternatives like "pull over" or "wait until you get back to the office."
* Tell employees that you do not expect the employee to engage in work while operating a vehicle.
Also, decide what level of compliance you are ready to enforce. The worst policy is one that...