Taking hold of hands-free devices

Employers can be on the hook for unsafe driving behaviour of employees
By Lyndsay Wasser and Rachel Gold
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/10/2012

Employers can be held liable for the negligent, and even illegal, actions of employees. And in Canada, all provinces and territories (except Nunavut) have enacted laws banning the use of cellphones, BlackBerrys and other hand-held electronic devices while operating a vehicle.

Legislators across the country took these steps in response to growing concerns regarding distracted drivers. A 2005 study of drivers in Australia — conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an Arlington, Va.-based non-profit agency dedicated to reducing death and injuries from crashes — found those using hand-held devices were almost four times as likely to be involved in an accident than drivers whose attention was focused on the road.

Another report out of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City in 2009 found using a cellphone while driving to be just as dangerous as driving drunk.