Employers Should Prohibit Texting While Driving: U.S. OSHA

Distracted driving, and in particular texting while driving, are important occupational safety issues, and employers need to act, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration says in a new brochure called “Distracted Driving: No Texting“.

The brochure quotes an official as saying, “It is well recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of a motor vehicle injury or fatality. We are asking employers to send a clear message to workers and supervisors that your company neither requires nor condones texting while driving.”

The brochure goes on to state that employers should “Prohibit texting while driving. OSHA encourages employers to declare their vehicles ‘text-free zones’ and to emphasize that commitment to their workers, customers, and communities.”

OSHA states that if it receives a “credible complaint that an employer requires texting while driving or organizes work so that texting is a practical necessity, we will investigate and will issue citations and penalties where necessary to end this practice.”

One expects that Canadian workplace safety inspectors would similarly take action, under occupational health and safety legislation, against employers who require or encourage employees to text while driving, or impose such great demands on employees that they are practically required to text while driving.

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Adrian Miedema

About Adrian Miedema

Adrian is a partner in the Toronto Employment group of Dentons Canada LLP. He advises and represents public- and private-sector employers in employment, health and safety and human rights matters. He appears before employment tribunals and all levels of the Ontario courts on behalf of employers. He also advises employers on strategic and risk management considerations in employment policy and contracts.

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