NEW YORK -- Attorney Jane Wagner was so busy talking on her cell phone while driving she thought the teen-ager she struck was a deer. It wasn't until the next morning, when she heard that a hit-and-run driver had killed a 15-year-old girl, that Wagner said she realized what she had done.
Whether Wagner was making work-related calls when the accident occurred is a matter for the courts to decide, but a $30 million lawsuit against her firm is causing some employers to restrict mobile-phone use on the road, ahead of legislation by most states.
"The recent lawsuit focused our attention, but it's a common sense safety concern," said David Fuss, a partner at Wilkes Artis, one of several Washington, D.C.-based law firms that have curbs on cell phone use.
"Our policy is that personnel are not to conduct business while using cell phones, unless they pull over and stop or use a handsfree device," said Fuss.
Even General Motors Corp., whose OnStar subsidiary sells embedded or handsfree mobile phones for cars is revising guidelines for its workers.
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