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Employers and the Cellphone Ban: Who pays for the fine?

The cellphone ban has been in effect in Ontario for little over a month now, and maybe its just me but I’ve had a lot less road rage.  Drivers seem to be more attentive, and those chatting on their cellphones sure are getting a lot of dirty looks – this is when they pay attention to the road around them.

We’ve gotten a lot of traffic on our post: “5 Responses Employers Should Do for the Cellphone Ban” where we discussed updating policies, signing agreements, providing hands-free devices, etc.  So we wanted to follow-up with and discuss some of the consequences of failing to comply with the ban, and in particular take a look at the employer/employee dynamic adding to the complexity of “who pays.”

Who pays for an accident or property damage where your employee/driver was on a cellphone?

Well your insurance company isn’t going to be too happy with this scenario, particularly if you haven’t taken any steps to address cellphone usage with your employee.  The insurance company is likely not to pay for the accident, and if they do your premiums are going to get hit hard.  Secondly any time loss as a result of injury and/or court time will be hitting your bottom line as well.

Since this legislation is still new and not yet tested out in the courts, answers to all the scenarios are still unclear.  In particular, its not clear if accidents will be covered by WSIB if an employee is driving the vehicle, talking on the phone, while on a work assignment at the time of the incident.

So play it safe, stress the importance of safe and legal driving practices.  Provide hands-free devices, update your policies and require signatures from your employees as proof they understand the policy and will perform in accordance.

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