I have been reading and hearing more and more stories about wireless policy and corporate liability regarding cell phone usage while driving. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 28 states have ban text messaging while driving and over nearly every state has some form of cell phone or distracted driving legislation on the books. While the law and your corporate wireless policy may restrict phone usage while driving, it’s not stopping many from continuing the practice.

Recently on the Telecom Junkies podcast produced by The Voice Report, Matt Howard of ZoomSafer discussed the danger of distracted driving, especially in regard to text and date usage. One particular point Matt made was that if an accident occurs -even if it’s an employee-owned phone- while a device is being used within the scope of work, the employer is liable. Additionally, the scope of work is very ambiguously defined and incidents can occur outside working hours, even on weekends. And the real kicker is that even with a wireless policy, the company can still be found liable if they have done nothing to enforce the policy.

Enforcement may not be easy, though. It’s very difficult to know if and when all employees may have sent text messages or sent/read emails while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Matt’s idea was to create a product called ZoomSafer which assists in enforcing policy by automatically disabling restricted features while you’re driving: suppressing inbound email and text, and responding on your behalf in order to let people know you’re driving and will respond as soon as possible. It’s a great idea to not only keep your employees’ behavior safe, but also to remove liability and hopefully keep employees from creating situations where the company may be liable in the first place.
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David Pastore

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