Share on Google+

DWT - Baaaad for Business

Another Angle on a Real Hazard

Should you DWT (Driving while Texting) Policy? YES. It is smart business.

Cell phone usage and texting have grown to a leading factor in automobile accidents. As of this writing 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. 3 states prohibit text messaging by novice or teen drivers. 3 states restrict school bus drivers from texting. That means that just about anywhere you drive, you're breaking the law if you text while driving. Here is a link for you to check out your state, if you're not from Massachusetts. In MA, Text messaging while driving is banned, as is cell phone use by school bus drivers.

Yet, people continue to text and drive. In January, I almost got run over by a driver obviously texting on Vesper Lane near my home in Nantucket. It is trouble from every angle.

But you may have not considered that it can mean trouble for any business owner, as well.

What if that person had been on an errand for your business? In this litigious society, you can be sure that a sharp lawyer will go after the business in addition to the individual driving. Any employee who drives on company business can be a liability if they are involved in an accident and it can be shown that they were texting at the time of the accident. Regardless of legislation about DWT, the act of texting while driving could be interpreted as negligence, and could put your assets on the line.

By having a written policy disallowing this practice, you may be able to limit your liability. Consult your HR professionals and legal advisors for more guidance in establishing such a policy.

But even more important, regardless of laws and legal liability, texting while driving can result in injury to your employees and others. The caring approach is to express such concern, model the right behavior, and to have your entire leadership do the same. Every time.

So - Should you DWT (Driving while Texting) Policy? YES. It is smart business. Do you have a DWT Policy???