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Texting, Speeding, Running Lights, And Employer Liability

An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey of 2,511 drivers found that 88 percent of drivers, ages 19 to 24, engage in risky behavior behind the wheel including:

  • Texting while driving
  • Running red lights or
  • Speeding.

Specifically, 59.3 percent of Millennials admit to texting while driving; nearly half admitted running red lights; and more than 10 percent said it was acceptable to speed in a school zone.

Eighty percent of drivers surveyed (Millennials, Generation X'ers, Baby Boomers, etc.) think it is unacceptable to drive while drowsy; however, 28.9 percent admitted driving while drowsy. Ninety percent of surveyed drivers understood it was dangerous to drive through a red light, but nearly one-third polled admitted driving through red lights.

In 2015, traffic deaths rose seven percent to 35,092. Brian Koster, "AAA Study Finds Millennial Drivers Are A Hazard," www.cleveland19.com (Feb. 15, 2017).


Commentary

Employers are vicariously liable for injuries to others caused by the negligence of their employees while driving on behalf of the employer.

Employers are also liable for injuries to the employee driver sustained while driving for the benefit of the employer under workers’ compensation laws, even if the other driver is negligent.

Whether an employee’s primary job duty is driving or if the employee occasionally drives, employers must prohibit texting while driving and require employees to follow rules of the road as part of their job.

Consistent enforcement of the policy is important for limiting exposure.

This site provides a model policy on safe driving, including prohibiting texting while driving. To access the policy, go to your My Library tab, then to the Model Handbook, and check out the “Safe Driving” model policy. To receive more information, including surveys that affect the workplace, follow McCalmon’s Leadership2 Twitter account, “McCalmonGroup”.

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