The Illinois General Assembly has passed a law  banning the use of cell phones and other devices to be used for texting and accessing the Internet while driving.    The law goes into effect on January 1, 2010 and is one of two laws associated with the use of personal communications while driving.

The other law (public act 096-0131) prohibits the use of cell phones in school zone speed limits, constructions zones and use by individuals under 19 while driving.

These steps will help in the reduction of accidents, injuries and death due to distracted driving and I applaud the state government for taking this action.  It also helps you set HR policy for your company on the use of cell phones and other communication devices that send or receive text messages or connect with the Internet.

In a previous post (texting while driving can contribute to insurance cost increases) I talked about how a “no cell phone use while driving” can contribute to a reduction in insurance costs and an overall reduction in your total cost of risk.  The establishment of a policy like this, and enforcement, demonstrates the companies commitment to reducing auto accidents.  With this type of demonstration and the historical data showing a reduction of auto accident claims, your company is in an excellent position to negotiate a reduced rate (or reduced increase depending on market conditions).

Establishing this type of policy will not be easy, especially if your C-level employees are the type who “multi-task” while driving.  However the up side in savings, both in human life and in costs should be a major factor in putting this policy into place.

IMPORTANT UPDATE

(November 14, 2009)

Rhode Island is the latest state to ban texting while driving, bringing the number up to 18 states with laws on the books or some coming into effect.  The law went into effect on November 9 and carriers a fine of up to $125.00.

Pennsylvania is also considering a ban on texting with the added twist of making this a primary offense which would allow the police to stop a driver even if no other infraction is committed.

With the significant increase in these types of laws across the states it is more important than ever to have a policy in place to protect your company and employees.