Saying no to driving and dialing

Cellphone policies could protect employers from civil liability
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/28/2006

When a Halifax Regional Municipality employee received a ticket when he ran a stop sign while searching for his cellphone, the incident underscored a need for a policy on the use of cellphones while driving for work.

The municipality was developing just such a policy at the time of the incident and a ban on the use of all communication devices — except hands-free, voice-activated ones — while driving went into effect in November 2002. Since then, there hasn’t been a single accident involving a communication device, said the occupational health and safety consultant with the municipality’s transportation and public works services.

“We hope the reason that we haven’t had any incidents since then is that the policy is working and being adhered to,” said Mike MacKenzie, who helped develop the policy. “And there hasn’t been any incidents where an employee was sighted using a cellphone.”