Protecting Your Business & The Public

If you are a company of any size - especially one with employees - you likely have a policy manual. If you don't have one, it's essential that you do. Get started right away. You can contact an attorney, prepare one from numerous online templates, purchase software, or hire a consultant.

One of the latest issues to arise is "Distracted Driving." According to a release from the NAHB, you should address this issue in your policy manual. Of main concern right now is the use of cell phones. Many jurisdictions already attempt to prohibit cell phone usage (calling, texting, or reading) altogether while in the car or truck.

OSHA has now weighed in on the subject of texting, officially declaring that companies are in violation of the law if by policy or practice they require texting while driving or create incentives that encourage or condone it, or if they structure work so that texting is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their job.

Is texting OK if the vehicle is not moving, or do we need to leave the vehicle before we can text or make/receive a call? What if someone texts us while we are driving and it concerns the appointment we are driving to?

This could apply to a great many of us, and the pressure is likely to increase.

As long as we are talking about distracted driving, we need to address and possibly ban listening to the radio or CD, looking at the scenery, daydreaming, thinking about our daily activities, talking to the passengers in our car, chewing gum, eating candy, drinking coffee or a soda, whistling or humming, getting stung by an insect, having a speck of dirt fly into our eyes, or other activities that come with being human.

Visit my website for Steve Hoffacker's aging in place solutions and services.

Comment balloon 22 commentsSteve Hoffacker • April 20 2012 07:27AM

Comments

Way too many lawyers out there.  Fortunately Florida got rid of joint & several liability a few years ago which at least lightens some of the burden on us employers.  Personally I wish Florida would simply make it illegal to talk or text while driving unless someone is calling 911.

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) about 7 years ago

Rob,

First Amendment gives me the right to make a phone call while driving. We have way too much regulation now. Totally against banning texting or calling. Of course some people are very careless at it and are menacing other drivers. Banning it won't make it go away, only make it illegal. Can't legislate against bad judgement. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) about 7 years ago

There are already laws that cover inattentive driving.  Adding a law prohibiting one type of inattention seems redundant. It does beg the question that the redundant law may suggest that other types of inattention may be tolerable.

The need for a policy manual telling employees to have common sense is ridiculous but still probably necessary.

Posted by Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about. about 7 years ago

I'm okay with talking while you are driving, preferrably via bluetooth, but I don't think anything good can come out of texting while driving. On the contrary, I think it is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. If you absolutely must read or send a text, pull over or pull off at the next exit.

The Driver's Ed class that our local High School offers provides students with an eye-opening experience.  The students drive around traffic cones and in lanes on a closed course with the instructor.  Then they call a friend from their cell phones and drive the same course while talking on the phone. I have spoken to several teens who have done this and each of them said it made a big impression on them as they each knocked cones over and crossed the lane lines when talking while driving. Whether it will encourage them not to talk on the phone while driving, especially as newly-licensed drivers, is another issue.

I am anxious to hear other people's thoughts on this blogpost. Thanks for what I think will be a provocative post!

Posted by Julie Bentley, Saint Johns, FL REALTOR (Watson Realty Corp, Jacksonville, FL ) about 7 years ago

Mike,

The policy manual is basiclly ment to protect the company from liability - the employee was put on notice so act accordingly.

The one thing this country does not need is any more laws. We still have archaic laws on the books in many areas that were created in the 1800s.

Remember laws only criminalize. They don't prohibit. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) about 7 years ago

Julie,

While a prudent person understands that looking down to call or text can lead to issues, so can changing a radio station, trying to pick up something that was dropped, trying to swat a bug that flew in and landed on you - or a huge spider on the inside of the windshield. We need a return to common sense and a curfew on new laws. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) about 7 years ago

Hi Steve,

I enjoyed our visit today tremendously.  You were the highlight of my day!  I don't have a policy manual but it's just Don and I (husband and wife)  :)   Do I need one in that instance? 

Posted by 1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) about 7 years ago

Judi,

Likewise, I enjoyed the visit. Very pleasant surprise. Policy manuals protect a company from liability when employees are invoved. I'm not offering legal advice, but the manual would say for instance that people need to wear certain safety equipment when operating a piece of machinery or performing a certain task. If they don't comply and are injured, the company is safe because the policy was violated or ignored by the employee. As the owner you can't escape the liability so you don't need the manual. Good question. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) about 7 years ago

Thanks Steve for responding to my question.  So many people do not bother to respond to comments on their blog post. 

Posted by 1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) about 7 years ago

Judi,

You're welcome. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) about 7 years ago

Steve

Good advise, a policy manual is a must.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) about 7 years ago

Lou,

Thank you. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) about 7 years ago

When I had a company with employees in a different field I had 3 basic policies:

1.  Follow the laws and regulations laid down for our field and in general.  

2.  Follow the directions of the client - assuming it was in compliance with # 1.

3.  If confused about above do what I tell you.   Consult with me.  

Of course there were a number of lesser proceedures in regard to payroll, reports and such.  But the big 3 really covered it. 

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) about 7 years ago

I don't text * EVER......they are the NEXT SPAM vehicle for consumers and THAT is what the government needs to address.

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) about 7 years ago

You just can't legislate common sense! Some people never learn it! There are many things in a Policy Manual that would not need to be there if we were a less litigous society. Good points Steve! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) about 7 years ago

Steve,

You'ved opened up Pandora's Box - Do you, or don't you? That is the question?

Right now, I'm of the opinion that this is something for the insurance company to include in their auto insurance policies or riders to their policies and the rest of us should stay out of it, with the exception to abiding by city ordinances, i.e., no talking or texting in school zones. Let the auto insurance companies decide how they want to battle out the claims for people who don't have insurance and let them do their due diligence whenever there is an accident.

Patricia

 

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) about 7 years ago

Gene,

Don't know how long ago that was - and your basic 3 are good - but now everything needs to be spelled out. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) about 7 years ago

Wallace,

I'd rather the governmnet stop regulating most everything. That was never their role. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) about 7 years ago

Wayne,

I agree. If people knew what common sense was - and the courts did too - would need far less rules. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) about 7 years ago

Patricia,

It's distractions however they occur that are the issue. If we see a wasp land on the dashboard and focus on it for a fraction of a second, we have taken our eyes off the road. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) about 7 years ago

Steve, People need to be accountable for the decisions they make while driving. Distracted driving scares me when I look in my rear view mirror and see someone driving 45 mph putting on mascara while looking in the mirror...

Posted by Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!, So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR (Prado Real Estate South) about 7 years ago

Wanda,

I agree. More than anything people don't realize that they are traveling the speeds that they are (whatever the speed) because the ride is so comfortable. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) about 7 years ago

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