Effective January 1, 2014, the state of Illinois banned the hand held use of cell phones while driving. Texting, a different subject altogether, has been banned for some time. That being said, your employees may still talk on the phone when they drive. Maybe these individuals have to use their commute to talk on the phone as part of their job duties or due to the busy nature of their schedule. No matter the case, any business whose employees drive and use the phone should have a written policy on cell phone use while driving. The reason for this is simple: If an employee causes an accident while driving for business, or causes an accident while driving on their own time but while texting or making a phone call related to the business, it is possible (more likely probable) that the lawyer for the injured person will sue your company as well as the employee driver. Why? Because your company is the bigger target.
Having a written policy in place can help protect your company by showing that your company does everything it can to encourage safety, and that any employee who causes an accident is subsequently violating company policy. In addition, a written policy could also help prevent accidents. A policy is especially important for businesses whose work requires their employees to travel often, such as salespeople, estimators, contractors, delivery drivers, etc.
To begin with, a policy should state that all employees are required to follow all laws pertaining to texting, emailing and talking while driving. You must tell them what the law is. After that, you need to tailor the policy to your business needs. The policy might say that employees should pull over if they need to make a phone call lasting more than a minute or two or if they have to take a written note or look for directions.
Having a written policy in place and making sure that your employees know about it is an important first step to preventing both accidents and lawsuits. For small businesses particularly, one lawsuit could deplete years of profitable savings and earned income. By protecting the safety of your employees and unsuspecting drivers in this manner, you are also effectively protecting the safety of your business.