Employer Liability for Distracted Driving
Employers are responsible for ensuring their employees adhere to the applicable federal agency regulations and federal, state and municipal laws, according to the National Safety Council. (NSC) This includes distracted driving laws.
Employees who cause an accident as a result of distracted driving may leave the company vulnerable to legal action. The NSC advises that an employer may be held accountable for an employee’s negligent actions, if the employee is acting within the scope of employment during the time of the crash.
During the last decade, cell-phone related distracted driving lawsuits involving employer liability have resulted in $1.5 to $2.1 million in verdicts and settlements, according to Alert Driving.
Common scenarios that have led to distracted driving lawsuits involving employer liability, as reported by the NSC include:
- Driving during work hours of typical work hours
- Business and personal conversations.
- Driving to or from work appointments and driving for personal reasons
- Employer provided and employee-owned vehicles
- Employer provided and employee-owned phones
- Hands-free and handheld devices
NSC advises trucking companies that they could be held liability when an accident is caused by a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder who is talking on his cell phone to dispatch at the time of the crash.
Each year the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety sponsors Drive Safely Work Week, which asks employers to pledge to encourage safe driving habits among their employees. This includes not contacting employees during a time in which the employer knows they are driving and allowing extra come to respond to work-related call while traveling.
Taking the pledge is one thing that employers can do to actively help prevent distracted driving among their employees. End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org) workplace presentations can also foster safer driving habits among employees. The free presentation has been seen by employees at various types of organizations including hospitals, police stations, pharmaceutical corporations, and other companies committed to safe driving habits.
For more information on preventing employee distracted driving please visit EndDD.org.
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