On January 1, 2014, Illinois
became the 12th state to prohibit drivers from using hand-held
phones. Texting and driving in Illinois is also
illegal. Drivers of any age caught doing so can receive citations and fines.
Drivers are prohibited from even holding
a phone and pressing more than one button to dial a phone number. With the
exception of two-way mobile radio and emergency calls, the law effectively
limits legal car phone usage to speaker phone, speed-dialing and Bluetooth
devices. Violators caught on their cell phones behind the wheel can face a
minimum fine of $75. Subsequent violations incur steeper fines.
I am amazed by the number of Illinois drivers who are
unaware or simply ignore the distracted driving laws as they sit at green
lights or drive erratically while texting or talking on the phone.
There is no excuse for this type of distracted driving. It
is extremely dangerous. Studies show that drivers who use cell phones are four
times more likely to be involved in personal injury crashes than other drivers.
Most crashes are caused by driver inattention, with cell phone use being the top
The responsibility to drive safely is with the person behind
the wheel and hopefully, every licensed Illinois
real estate broker uses some type of hands free device while driving.
In addition, an Illinois
sponsoring real estate broker should have written company policy that addresses
the area of distracted driving.
a violation of state law by an employee can essentially make the employer
liable for the employee's conduct. An example of this could be: an employee
getting involved in an automobile accident while driving a company or personal
vehicle on company business. Both the employee and his/her employer could be
held responsible due to the existence of the new cell phone ban.
Even though the real estate broker is typically an
independent contractor, the sponsoring broker could possibly have some
liability for the actions of the sponsored licensee.
What are some
steps that a business can take to minimize its vicarious liability under the
above scenario? One potential step is to update company policy manuals to
reflect that sponsored licensees are required to adhere to the new law.
Announce all updates immediately.
While having such a policy does not bar sponsoring
broker liability, having a strongly worded policy could help mitigate the risk
of any liability. It is also a great opportunity to train licensees about
the dangers of “distracted driving”.
Posted on Wed, July 16, 2014
by Mike Fair filed under