In an attempt to limit their liability for driving accidents that occur when employees conduct business on cell phones while driving, several U.S. companies are instituting a ban on mobile phone use in the car.
Some states have already made it illegal to dial and drive. However, employers are now restricting cell phone use even in places where there is no law against using phones while driving.
The move is a response to an attempt in the U.S. to establish employer responsibility for accidents that occur when workers are conducting business on car cell phones. Several lawsuits have been launched against American companies, most notably a $30 million wrongful death claim against a law firm. A lawyer working for the firm was allegedly making business calls when her car hit and killed a 15-year-old girl.
At present, there is no Canadian legislation banning the use of cell phones while driving and no lawsuits against employers. However, in view of the American experience, Canadian companies may want to consider implementing such policies to limit their liability.