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Am I liable? Distracted Driving Accidents and your Company

Distracted Driving

Whether your business powers a large fleet of vehicles or just occasionally requires employees to drive for company business, you could be held liable for accidents caused by distracted driving habits like texting and driving or updating social media profiles behind the wheel. When the employee involved in the accident is found to have been negligent in an accident due to cell phone usage, the NHTSA estimates that on-the-job collisions cost companies over $24,500 per crash, $128,000 per injury, and $3.8 million per fatality.

That seems like a lot right? Where exactly do these high costs come from? The truth is, the hidden costs of distracted driving accidents in your company may include:

  • Legal fines and vehicle repairs
  • Insurance deductibles and increased premiums
  • Damages paid to victims of the crash   
  • Workers compensation claims
  • Repairs and lowered productivity with less vehicles on the road
  • Costly public relations and marketing efforts to repair damage to the company’s reputation 

An employer can be found liable in a distracted driving accident for a variety of reasons. However, there are four times an employer is always likely to be found liable in a distracted driving case, no matter what:

  • Vicarious Liability: The company is held liable for any bodily harm or damage that is incurred by an employee performing their duties.
  • Negligent Hiring: If the employer didn’t train the employee properly (i.e. didn’t supervise them well, didn’t train the employee properly on the dangers of distracted driving or did not investigate the employee’s background prior to hiring them the company could be liable.
  • Negligent Entrustment: If is was known that the driver would probably be in a situation where they would be easily distracted while driving, like if employees are frequently required to answer calls or text messages during their shift the employer could be help liable.
  • Dangerous Instrumentality: If the employee caused the accident, the employer is to blame.

Sound like a lot of pressure? Keep your business safe by remembering the high costs of distracted driving, and implementing changes in your safety policy today. Interested in stepping up your company’s fleet safety game? Visit FleetMode’s website and check out our introductory video to find out how you can end distracted driving accidents in the workplace, once and for all.