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Should my company adopt a formal policy regarding cell phone use?

Nearly everyone has a cell phone or smartphone these days and it is no secret that they can be distracting, especially while driving. If you own a business in Miami, you are likely aware of many important safety issues when it comes to your employees. However, it may not have occurred to you to adopt any kind of policy regarding cell phones. You may want to consider banning their use entirely and here is why.

According to the National Safety Council, the car accidents are responsible for more work-related deaths than any other kind of occupational injury. At the same time, a driver is four times more likely to be involved in a crash when they are using a cell phone. Therefore, if you want to reduce the chances of an employee being in a car crash, banning cell phones will lessen that risk.

This may seem obvious if your business employs professional drivers or salespeople who are on the road all day long. But employers may be found liable in any circumstance where the driver of the car was acting within the scope of their employment. This means that if you send your secretary to pick up your lunch and she gets into an accident in her own vehicle, your company may still be liable.

While laws exist banning the use of cell phones while driving on both the state and federal levels, that may not be enough to protect your business from liability if it can be proven that the company culture encourages people to remain available at all times, even while behind the wheel. While this may seem like a difficult thing to prove, cases have shown that employee testimony and phone records showing how often people use their phones for work-related purposes can paint a pretty detailed picture about an employer’s expectations.

Therefore, you may want to consider implementing a total ban on cell phone use by employees while driving during work hours, as well as a ban on using phones for work purposes while driving after hours. This policy should be clearly articulated and enforced. This should not be considered legal advice and is only provided as general information on this topic.

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