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Employers That Provide Blackberries to Employees Must Prohibit Texting While Driving or Face Liability

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The Workers Comp Insider Blog raises a very interesting and concerning work related issue in its posting March 16, 2007 concerning employee use of Blackberry or cellular devises and the practice of texting while driving.

As if we don’t have enough distractions as we hurtle ourselves from Point A to Point B in four ton vehicles, we read that DWT – driving while texting – has become an issue of sufficient magnitude to warrant legislative intervention.

Unfortunately, there have already been deaths that appear to have resulted from this practice.

The “Insider” discusses how the UK has taken significant strides to proactively eliminate this practice by passing legislation which makes it an aggravating factor constituting criminal conduct if an accident results while a phone or PDA device is being used while driving. Some states in the US, including Washington, appear to be moving in that direction.

The bottom line is that employers that provide cell phones, blackberry devices or other technology to drivers to be used on the road, must make sure that employees are not expected to utilize these devices while operating a vehicle and moreover, have a policy prohibiting the same or responsibility for injuries to the employee and innocent third parties will fall to them.