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Risk Management Bulletin


By February 1, 2012No Comments

If you have mobile employees, make sure that they’re using their cell phones behind the wheel in a safe manner. Provide a safety policy that clearly defines and limits cell phone usage while driving and provides penalties for violations. Seek the input of mobile employees and managers to help ensure that your policy is enforceable, fair, and realistic. We’d recommend taking these steps.

  • Provide safety training for drivers. Ensure that all drivers of company vehicles have a valid driver’s license. Require any employee using a company vehicle to complete a driver safety and defensive driving course before getting the keys to a vehicle. These courses often include graphic demonstrations related to driver distraction from using cell phones. This can be a real eye-opener for drivers who might have never seen the devastation caused by vehicle crashes.
  • Post warnings in all company vehicles. The notice should clearly prohibit the use of cell phones while driving. If the call is an emergency, the driver should let a passenger make the call or pull over before using the cell phone.
  • Provide a hands-free device option. Although allowing mobile employees to use hands-free devices behind the wheel won’t prevent phone conversations from distracting drivers, it can reduce distraction.
  • Use answering services or call forwarding options. It might be hard for mobile workers and those trying to contact them to adjust to an answering service or call forwarding option, especially if workers have been allowed to make calls or answer their phone while driving previously. However, the convenience of answering or making a phone call immediately while behind the wheel just isn’t worth the risk and liability. After the mobile workers reach their destination, they can check their messages and make appropriate return phone calls.
  • Turn off the cell phone. Require mobile employees to shut off their cell phones while driving the company vehicle. The employee can turn on their cell phone to make needed calls or check their answering or call waiting service once they’ve arrived. This policy should also require passengers to turn off their cell phones.
  • Let employees take responsibility. Most employees won’t adhere to a policy that’s all talk and no action. Make employees responsible for any fines or additional vehicle operation costs from traffic violations related to illegal cell phone usage. The policy might also provide penalties for workers who accumulate a certain amount of traffic violations.
  • Ban cell phones from company vehicles. Before making a total cell phone ban part of the policy, realize that this might leave employees unable to contact emergency services in the event of an accident or emergency. Consider a complete ban only after careful thought and as a last resort — for example if employees keep violating the cell phone policy or have repeated cell phone traffic infractions.