During the last decade people of all ages have begun to utilize text messaging, email, internet browsing, or gaming features of their cellular telephones. Many people are using these features while operating a motor vehicle.
Additionally, many employees are using these features while working and driving. The use of these features increases the risk for vehicular crashes. Specifically, the use of a cellular phone has been tied to a four times greater chance of vehicle crash causing serious injury.
Florida does not currently have laws that regulate or prohibit the use of cellar devices while driving a motor vehicle. However, there is discussion of a cellular telephone regulation being passed in the upcoming legislative session.
It is required, though, that the driver of a vehicle operate in a “careful and prudent manner… so as not to endanger the life, limb or property of any person.” Fla. Stat. § 316.1925 (2010). An employer can be held liable for the actions of an employee when they are acting within the scope of employment.
Therefore, an employer may be held liable for an employee who has caused a crash while working and texting, checking email, or just talking on a cellular telephone. The employer can even be held liable for their employee’s actions if it is against the employer’s policy if they have not enforced this policy, or otherwise knew or should have known the employee was violating this policy.
Driver’s have a responsibility to operate their vehicle in a manner which does not endanger those around them. A driver who is distracted because they are using their cellular phone is not following this duty.
If you have been injured in a vehicle crash because another driver was distracted by their cellular telephone it is important that you consult with an attorney. It is also important that all drivers remember that driving is a serious responsibility and that it requires all of our full attention. When driving please do not use your cellular telephone for any purpose.
Dustin Butler’s practice focuses on Personal Injury Litigation, Civil Litigation, and Family Law.