Distracted driving causes accidents. In today’s mobile world, this extends beyond playing with the radio buttons, eating while driving or applying make-up. Now we have new risky behavior—driving while texting, talking on mobile phones, or browsing the web. When drivers use mobile devices (smart phones, tablets and other electronic equipment) behind the wheel of a company vehicle or while driving for company business, their employers will be liable. According to the Department of Transportation, the risk is 23 times higher that an accident will occur when mobile devices are regularly used in performing job duties.
This is a real concern for restaurants that offer delivery. Let’s look at typical situations to see why. The restaurant often communicates with the delivery staff by mobile phone. Mobile phones have GPS services to help find the delivery location. And, many delivery employees are teens. (Even in the case of older staff, a recent survey by cellular carrier AT&T revealed that about half of adults admitted to texting while driving.)
What can you do to reduce your risk and exposure?
Start by adopting company policies prohibiting use of mobile devices while driving for anything other than turn-by-turn navigation. Educate your employees about the risk and the policy. Lastly, enforce the policy. Preferably, it should be a no-tolerance policy as recommended by National Safety Council.
Larger establishments may consider investing in software technology that disables mobile devices in vehicles moving faster than a certain speed.
Every employer has a different appetite for risk. This is risky behavior for the employer and the employee. Consider working with your attorney to implement a company policy that will reduce your exposure.