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Getting ticketed in a work vehicle may have extra consequences

Readers may not be surprised to learn that numerous studies demonstrate that cellphone use behind the wheel can increase the risk of unsafe driving that leads to a traffic violation or a motor vehicle accident.

However, readers may not have considered this prospect from an employer’s perspective. When employees are using company vehicles for official business, any crash caused by texting or distracted driving could subject the employer to potential liability.

Of course, there may be reasons why an employee might be using a cellphone. Many smartphones are GPS-equipped, allowing drivers to navigate to unknown locations with ease. In an employment context -- where an employee might be under time constraints -- the certainty provided by GPS technology may be a relief.

Yet as one local commentator recently noted, drivers relying on GPS technology may be driving below the speed limit or displaying tentative behavior at turns. The commentator was specifically addressing out-of-town drivers visiting over the Memorial Day holiday, but it can be easy to imagine an employee displaying similar behavior behind the wheel when en route to a new destination.

Yet the duty of safe driving demands attention to the wheel. A driver that is exhibiting tentative behavior might be as likely to attract the attention of local police officers as a speeding motorist. In both instances, a traffic ticket or citation may be the outcome. For an employee, the consequences of receiving such a ticket in a company vehicle may be serious. With the help of a traffic ticket and criminal defense lawyer, a driver may be able to get out of that predicament with minimal consequences.

Source: Poughkeepsie Journal, “ Musso: Beware the out-of-towners on the roads,” Anthony Musso, May 23, 2014