Employers hold a unique position. They can help to reduce this major safety risk by making employees put down their phones when they’re behind the wheel and working or when they are driving a company car.
Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) January 06, 2012
As a new year begins and employers review their policies, they should focus on banning their employees from talking or texting on cell phones and other electronic devices while driving on company time, Georgia injury lawyer Scott Monge said today.
“This should be at the top of the list of New Year’s resolutions for all employers,” said Monge, whose Georgia personal injury firm, The Accident Attorneys of Monge & Associates, represents car accident victims throughout Georgia and the Southeast. “Clearly, distracted driving is a serious problem on our roads.”
According to a December report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 13.5 million drivers are using hand-held cell phones at any given moment during the day. The same report found that 3,092 fatal car crashes involved distracted driving in 2010.
“Employers hold a unique position. They can help to reduce this major safety risk by making employees put down their phones when they’re behind the wheel and working or when they are driving a company car,” Monge said.
“Employers can also reduce their own exposure to liability for accidents that are caused by an employee’s distracted driving.”
If a car accident occurs while an employee is driving negligently while acting within the course and scope of their employment – in other words, doing something to serve the company’s interests – then the employer may be held liable in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, Monge said. This is known as the doctrine of respondeat superior.
Under the doctrine, an employer normally can’t be held liable when an employee causes an accident while driving to and from work. However, if the employee was conducting company business by talking or texting on the phone at the time of the crash, the employer could face liability, Monge said.
“Our law firm thoroughly investigates every car accident case that we handle. One of the first steps we take is to preserve all cell phone and smart phone records of the other driver in order to determine if distracted driving played a role in the accident,” Monge said. “We also pursue action against every individual or company responsible, and that includes employers.”
Monge said employers should adopt distracted driving policies that, at a minimum, require employees to follow Georgia law. Currently, the state bans text messaging for all drivers. There is no ban on talking on a cell phone while driving unless you are a bus driver with passengers on board. Drivers ages 18 and younger are banned from using any electronic device.
“Even though Georgia law permits talking on cell phones while behind the wheel, the best practice would be to ban employees from using cell phones in any fashion while driving on company business or in a company car,” Monge said. “Employers could also require employees to pull over before taking any business-related calls or text messages.
“Our main concern lies with innocent victims of driver negligence,” he added. “That’s why we’ll continue to push for safer driving practices and aggressively represent Georgia car accident victims against careless drivers and their insurance companies.”
About The Accident Attorneys of Monge & Associates
The Accident Attorneys of Monge & Associates is a Georgia personal injury firm that represents clients throughout Georgia and the Southeast, including the cities of Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, Athens, Columbus, Macon, Norcross, Lawrenceville, Warner Robins, Marietta, Douglasville and Smyrna. The firm’s experienced and dedicated Georgia accident and injury lawyers handle personal injury and wrongful death cases arising from car accidents, truck accidents, slips and falls, workers’ compensation, DUI accidents, Social Security disability claims, medical malpractice, motorcycle accidents and pedestrian accidents. To learn more about the firm, call (404) 917-8100 or use its convenient online contact form.