It’s that time of year. Summer is rapidly closing in on us and the skies are starting to slowly open up. With the advent of fall (or at least fall-like weather), driving conditions can get hairy. First rains often mean slippery roads, as a summer’s worth of oil and other spills on roads mix with rain, creating a less than ideal driving situation. With the weather changing, now is a great time to review your company’s policies on using mobile devices while driving. Many states have “hands free” laws in place, and adhering to these laws is especially vital when the weather does not cooperate.
If your organization does not have a policy in place for the use of mobile devices while driving, now is a perfect time to consider implementing such a policy, especially if you have any employees who drive from location to location throughout the course of their work day.
Components of such a policy should include:
- Obey the Law! – Make certain to include mention of applicable state/federal law in your policy. Your employees should know that they are not only breaking company policy, but the law if they talk or text while driving.
- Prohibit Talking/Texting – Many individuals own a bluetooth or other hands free device to use while driving. This is the only way that the use of a phone while driving should be allowed if used during the course of employment. Texting should be prohibited altogether, as well as other distractions (email, social media, internet use, etc.).
- Clearly State Consequences – As with all policies, include mention of what the consequences will be if an employee violates this policy. Many employers have a zero tolerance policy in place for the use of phones wile driving, while others may opt to put an employee on a written or final warning.
If you haven’t done so already, clearly communicate this policy to all employees, both the policy itself as well as consequences for any violations. Reiterate that this policy is for the safety of your employees. Distracted driving is dangerous even in the most optimal of driving conditions. In addition to penalties and fines ensued from tickets if the driver is caught using their phone without a hands free device, the risks of potentially being involved in an accident are simply not worth it.
This time of year provides a perfect opportunity to review and/or create a hands free, mobile device policy. Whether in a personal or work vehicle, if an employee is using a phone during the course of employment while driving, procedures for use must be put into place. It is vital that all employees understand and adhere to this policy, both for legal reasons and for the overall safety of all parties involved.