An Online survey, conducted by Harris Poll for Travelers Insurance showed that 43% of employees felt a need to keep in touch with work while driving. These respondents would talk, text or email in order to keep up with work, even if they were driving at the time.
Their main concern was to “not upset the boss” followed by a need “to connect with clients”, as their main reasons for driving distracted by their cell phones. Not surprisingly, younger employees used their phones more often than older employees. More than 25% said their employer called and/or texted them even when they knew or were made aware that the employee was behind the wheel.
This showed a short-sightedness on the part of the employers. When an employee uses their cell phone while “on the clock” and drives, regardless if it is a company car or a personal car, if an accident occurs, the employer can be fully or partially liable.
Earlier this year, the American Association for Justice reminded employers that they could be held liable under the doctrine that they are vicariously responsible for the acts of their employees under certain circumstances, and that cases have been filed attempting to expand liability of employers and others involving distracted driving. In 2013, a New Jersey court held that the person who texted someone knowing the recipient was driving could be liable.
The cost of an accident/crash to a business is considerably higher than expected when the business must include the cost of repairs, injuries, labor loss, worker’s comp, insurance
premiums and lawsuit liability. The National Safety Council places the average cost of workplace vehicle accident at $40,000.
No amount of slightly increased productivity can compensate for the cost of accidents. As a society, we do not accept the loss of safety for an increase in productivity on assembly lines, construction sites, nor should we behind the wheel.
The survey polled 2,083 people in September 2017