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Distracted Employees Increasing Collision Risks in Louisville

Kentucky auto accident attorneyMost people don't realize it, but many traffic accidents can be attributed to pressure in the workplace.

According to a recent report in the Hartford Courant, work pressures are increasing the distracted driving risks for all of us. Roughly a quarter of employees admitted to using their phones for work-related communications while driving because they didn't want to upset their boss.

Motorists who are injured due to distracted driving caused by workplace pressure should speak to an auto accident attorney in Louisville.

Work Pressure and Distracted Driving in Louisville

Perhaps there is no better illustration of the problem than a now decade-old New York Times series that found some of the most distracted drivers on the road are police officers and emergency responders. "They are the most wired vehicles on the road, with dashboard computers, sophisticated radios, navigation systems and cellphones," the Times series begins.

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration strongly encourages private employers to enact comprehensive distracted driving policies, there are no mandates in place.

"It is well recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of motor vehicle injury or fatality," said Dr. David Michaels, an assistant secretary of OSHA. "We are asking employers to send a clear message to workers and supervisors that your company neither requires nor condones texting while driving."

The Obama Administration banned federal employees from texting while driving in 2009. Currently, 47 states ban texting while driving. Under Kentucky law (189.292), all motorists are forbidden from texting while driving. However, there is no prohibition on other use of handheld devices.

Liability in Motor Vehicle Collisions Involving Employees

For motorists who are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, or an at-fault motorist who is driving for work, a personal injury claim can be more complicated. Kentucky law may hold employers accountable for actions of employees under a number of legal theories, including negligent hiring and retention, negligent entrustment and vicarious liability. Additionally, under Kentucky law (KRS 411.182) employers may be held jointly and severally liable, meaning they could be found responsible for paying the entire verdict, regardless of proportioned fault. With few exceptions, an employer may not be subject to punitive damages (KRS 411.184(1)(f)).

Too often, employers will classify delivery drivers as independent contractors in an attempt to escape liability for traffic collisions.

Whenever a serious accident occurs, it's advisable to speak to a Kentucky injury attorney as soon as possible. But such advice is particularly critical when an accident involves a commercial vehicle or an employee who is driving on the job. Identifying all at-fault parties and their insurance carriers is a critical first step to obtaining justice for victims.

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