Like many areas, the legal position can be seen from more than one angle. Some lawyers may consider it better to avoid the whole area than to encourage use of safe technology, when nothing can ever be 100% "safe". However, if the company has a "duty of care" to the safety of customers or employees, then doing nothing could be considered negligent, and doing anything to encourage safe mobile phone usage is better than nothing. Also doing something is more employee friendly.
There have been half a dozen high profile cases in the US where companies have been successfully sued over crashes where employees have been talking on mobile phones to clients. Some of theses cases have extended the parameters to negligence in the employer failing to provide guidelines on cell phone use.
Ways to reduce this liability:
1. Have a policy on mobile phone use. You may already have such a policy, which may be effectively just a disclaimer like "don't use your phone ever" (which courts will probably accept, but in future this may not be considered doing enough).
2. Provide/encourage mobile phone holders in the vehicle.
3. Provide/encourage safer alternatives - apps that are designed for driving such as Speaking Email as a safer alternative to native email app.
Of course, this FAQ does not constitute legal advice, and you would make your own decision after consulting your own lawyer.
What is Speaking Email?
An app for iPhone and Android that reads your email out loud to you. It intelligently extracts content from emails (minus the signatures, disclaimers and threads). And it lets you action your email - archive, mark-as-read, trash, flag, reply, or forward. It can be completely by voice command, or use the large on-screen buttons or full screen touch gestures.
Who is it for?
People with blindness or visual impairment. People who are busy and run out of time to get through their inbox. People who want to make productive use of time when driving between appointments.
Do you have Apple CarPlay?
See our other product Speaking Email CarPlay.