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Applications Not the Only Concern for Mobile Users

Last week, Washington State implemented its new "hands-free" cell phone/text messaging law, making most cell phone use while driving a primary offense. Previously such use was a secondary offense, meaning police officers could only cite a driver for cell phone if a higher-priority offense had been committed at the same time.

Washington joins a handful of other states trying to curb cell-phone use by drivers, and again raises the issue of what an enterprise's responsibilities are for its mobile workforce and what IT's role is in compliance.

Two Washington firms, DialPro Northwest and Personnel Management Systems, have released a list of recommendations for keeping employees safe and connected to the office

Jack Goldberg, president of Personnel Management Systems, explained in a company release that “most company HR policies are out of date and need to be updated.” His company provides outsourced human resource management services. We encourage businesses to review their policies in light of current employee cell phone usage and the law. Employees should minimize the amount of time they use the cell phone while driving on the job, and to always stay safe by using headsets or hands-free devices when they absolutely need to use the phone.”

We must acknowledge that there are die-hard, must-be-connected workers, points out Dennis Tyler, president of DialPro Northwest (the company provides voice messaging and unified communications solutions). “It is not always feasible for employees to pull to the side of the road. Sometimes a quick response is required to respond to an e-mail message or make a phone call. There are a whole group of business-oriented speech recognition tools that keep employees both safe and connected to the office while offering full compliance with the law.”

Their guide also discusses questions businesses should be asking about the new law and liability and HR issues that must be considered. The information is available at either company site: www.dialpronw.com or www.hrpmsi.com.

- James E. Powell
Editorial Director, ESJ

Posted on 06/14/2010

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