By: Advocate Brokerage
The statistics are staggering.
According to distraction.gov, engaging in visual-manual subtasks (that is a fancy way of saying using a cell phone) increases the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
Furthermore, in the US, at any given daylight moment, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones.
It is no wonder that the U.S. Department of Transportation and individual states continue to enact aggressive legislation targeting the use of mobile electronics while behind the wheel. Distracted driving is dangerous!
For commercial vehicle drivers, both companies and the drivers they employ can be on the hook for fines for distracted driving infractions. Therefore it is imperative that employers be aware of the potential liability that they are exposed to as a result of the actions of their workers while behind the wheel.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is defined as the act of driving while engaging in other activities. It is a broad term but it is most often applied to:
When is Mr. Business Owner Liable?
Business owners are responsible, in the majority of cases, for third-parties injured by an employee driving a vehicle, regardless of ownership of that vehicle, within the scope of their employment. Any driving that is authorized by the company or managers for the employee, or is necessary to carry out his or her job function, is considered within the scope of employment. (Of note, if the employee commits an intentional illegal act or deviates so far from work-related activities that it ends their employment, employers can become exempt from liability.)
Do Your Homework
If your future employee’s scope of work includes being behind the wheel, you need to do your homework. Companies and business owners can be held liable for negligent entrustment. Negligent entrustment occurs when an employer allows an employee to drive a company car when they know or have reason to know that the driver is unlicensed, incompetent or unqualified to drive. Knowledge of incompetence can include:
This is why we recommend doing your due diligence and researching your employees though their Motor Vehicle Records or MVRs. We will be sharing additional information regarding MVRs in Thursday’s blog post, so be sure to check back with us!
Help keep your employees safe!
Once you’ve done your homework, we’ve got some additional tips to increase employee driving safety: