ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- The Olmsted County Board of Commissioners approved a major change to a county wide policy on Tuesday. The new policy will bar all county employees from using cell phones while driving on the job.
This includes any handheld devices while driving a county vehicle or personal vehicle on county business.
The county has about 1,000 employees most of whom will no longer be allowed to use cell phones while driving.
This includes anyone from social workers and child protection to public works people. There are exceptions for law enforcement and others in emergency type situations.
Risk is the major motivation behind the change.
"I think we all, including myself, think I can concentrate on my driving and carry on a conversation on the phone at the same time," said Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem. "The reality is I really can't."
Another reason the county passed the proposal was liability, making the individual responsible for mishaps related to distracted driving instead of the company.
"Plaintiff attorneys are reaching through past the driver to the employer and saying the employer is liable for this distracted driving accident because they didn't have a policy restricting it," said Ostrem.
The Olmsted County Board of Commissioners is hoping other counties, cities, and companies will follow in their footsteps.
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