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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cell Phone Safety and Workers Compensation

Workers' Compensation benefits may soon be denied to employees involved in motor vehicle accidents because of the unauthorized use of cell phones while driving within the course of their employment. As the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) continues to educate Americans with overwhelming statistical evidence that distracted driving is a major cause of accident, the denial of benefits to cell phone users may become a major incentive to create a safer work environment.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Transportation is leaning toward banning all use of cell phones by drivers. At the second national USDOT summit on the increased hazards of the use of cell technology  a major campaign was launched to encourage employers to outright  ban the use of cell phones by employees while working.

Employers have become increasingly concerned over employee "cognitive distraction" caused by the use of cell phones in motor vehicles as more data has become available associating driver cell phone use with accidents. Methods of enforcement will include the use of traffic cameras as the system already hss the capability of detecting drivers who are using telephones while driving. Evidentially, telephone billing records produced post accident can be used to corroborate the fact that an employee was using a telephone while working.

The precedent of using the workers compensation acts to make occupational environments safer is already established. The denial of workers' compensation benefits for unsafe actions by employees has previously been incorporated into law and has been an economic incentively for employers to reduce costs. Employees who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and those who fail to use employer provided safety devices, have already been denied benefits in some jurisdictions.

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman 1.973.696.7900 have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered work related accident and injuries.