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Recent Cases Demonstrate Companies Need to Prevent Employees from Driving While ‘Intexticated’

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David Teater is the senior director of Transportation Initiatives at the National Safety Council (NSC), and in the video above, he explains how organizations can implement cell phone policies for their employees. As the Washington Post noted in a story published on May 20, 2012, distracted driving lawsuits “now are part of the legal landscape,” and corporations that allow employees to talk or text behind the wheel are becoming increasing targets.

A few of the recent cases cited by the Post include:

  • A Florida jury awarded $21.6 million to a stay-at-home dad after a woman driving her husband’s company car killed his wife in 2004. Evidence later showed that the woman had placed a call on her cell phone to her husband at the moment the company car slammed into the rear-end of the victim’s car.
  • A federal magistrate ordered an Alabama trucking company to pay $18 million for an accident that happened when one of its drivers reached for a cell phone.
  • An Arkansas lumber company whose salesman crippled a 78-year-old woman paid a $16.1 million settlement.
  • International Paper settled for $5.2 million after an employee on a cell phone caused a collision that cost a woman her arm.

Two days after that Post story was published, a Texas jury awarded $21 million to a woman whose vehicle was struck by a Coca-Cola employee in a company-owned vehicle who was talking on her cell phone at the time of the accident.

While we have written quite frequently about the dangers of texting while driving, it is obvious that companies across America need to begin taking their cell phone policies more seriously. Just as corporations would never allow an employee to drive a company vehicle while intoxicated, they should similarly ban driving while “intexticated” as well. A written policy is clearly a minimal effort that does little to affect employee behavior, and companies need to more aggressively enforce such policies to ensure that they are not being held liable for a distracted driving accident caused by one of their workers.

Wooten, Kimbrough & Normand, P.A. – Orlando personal injury lawyers