When you could be liable for your employees' driving habits

Transportation plays a critical role in today's workforce, whether people work in the transportation industry or travelling is just a part of their job. As an employer, you probably have in place specific policies related to traveling, from approving expenses to tracking work hours away from the office.

These policies can prevent disputes with employees and lawsuits, so it is critical to have them. And it is important that they address the full range of travel-related behaviors, including driving habits of your employees who drive either their own vehicle or a company vehicle as part of their job-duties in the course and scope of their employment.

For instance, did you know that your company could be responsible for an accident caused by an employee who was distracted by a phone?

The big problem with distracted driving

Driving while distracted is something that countless drivers do every day, despite laws in place to deter such behavior. In the interest of either efficiency or boredom, workers while driving check emails, texts, and speak on the phone (as well as other types of distracted driving such as petting their dog, looking for an address, applying make-up). If an accident result due to the worker's conduct, the victim may pursue compensation from the driver, the owner of the vehicle and the worker's employer.

Employers: protect yourself and others

To prevent distracted driving accidents and to shield your business from an unfortunate legal battle, employers should have in place clear, consistently-enforced policies on safe driving.

Employers might have a policy that they do not expect an immediate response to work-related correspondence while a person is on the road, and that there is no requirement for drivers to answer their phones or call anyone back unless they can do so safely.

As this article notes, it can also be wise to limit employment opportunities that involve driving to workers with a good driving record. Requiring drivers to complete driving classes can also be an option worth considering.

Having solid policies in place and helping employees practice safe driving habits can be wise decisions for employers to avoid both serious car accidents and costly litigation.

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