Someone in my office regularly leaves the parking lot smoking a cigarette and on the phone while driving, not very well. What do I say to get them to stop it?

Clarification: I am talking about driving without using your hands here. Smoke in one hand, phone in the other, rolling along at 25-30mph... I'm amazed she hasn't been killed already, actually. Also, I'm not asking about reporting them to HR or something, I'm asking how to address this as a human being. Something should be said, as a person.

  • 1
    How well do you know this person? If not so much then there isn't much of a relationship to risk.
    – user8365
    Oct 29, 2015 at 19:44
  • @JeffO - I don't know them and I don't care about any relationship. Lives are at stake, that's far more serious than office politics.
    – Jasmine
    Oct 29, 2015 at 20:54
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about navigating the workplace. It has a tangental relationship to the workplace only because it happens near your workplace, but this could easily translate to a shopping center or apartment complex, or anywhere else that people park. Oct 29, 2015 at 21:46
  • No I wasn't looking for how to speak English to another human being, it's the office that is complicating the issue, but they don't work for my company, I just have to see them all the time. The current top answer is a good one.
    – Jasmine
    Oct 29, 2015 at 22:47
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    I've been told off by a colleague for not paying attention in a parking lot, no big deal. "Thanks for the heads up" was my reply. I would think most reasonable people would be the same, unless you have a history with this colleague that makes you think differently. Safety affects everyone, sometimes people just need a reminder.
    – Kilisi
    Oct 30, 2015 at 16:17

2 Answers 2


That is part of workplace safety and many companies take it seriously. If you are OSHA and that lot is company owned and someone is hurt that is a record-able incident. If someone is hurt on company property they might sue the company.

If it is a company owned lot you can report it. Is there a security officer? If this is an unsupervised lot I seriously doubt they are going to do anything. And if it is a supervised lot then they should have picked up on the unsafe driving without you telling them.

You can approach the person and ask them to drive more carefully but I seriously doubt that will help.

I happened to pass the safety manager on the way to work one day on a public road and got called into his office and asked to slow down. He had no direct authority over what I did on a public road but I agreed to slow it down.

  • While this is a good answer about general workplace safety, smoking in the parking lot and talking on the phone while driving aren't exactly hazards covered by OSHA (unless the accident involves a company-owned car), as they deal with hazards and unsafe work environments maintained inside the workplace environment.
    – panoptical
    Oct 29, 2015 at 19:47
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    +1, but you may want to emphasize that this only really applies while the employee is on company property. (Technically a US employer can make whatever conditions he wants of course but I don't know many companies that will penalise an employee for reckless driving while off the clock.)
    – Lilienthal
    Oct 29, 2015 at 19:49
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    @KentAnderson He was a senior manger and the right answer was yes sir. His focus was safety and to him he witnessed an unsafe act. He was right. It was also a small community where we were heads and tails the top employer. Driving fast on that road reflected on the company.
    – paparazzo
    Oct 29, 2015 at 20:04
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    @Lilienthal If you think you will not get penalized for unsafe acts off the clock then work for a big oil company that is serious about safety. You will get talked to for running in the parking lot after you clocked out.
    – paparazzo
    Oct 29, 2015 at 20:08
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    @Frisbee I think we've started arguing semantics since I don't disagree with anything you've said. Find me in chat if you want to debate it more but you've already earned your +1 from me. :)
    – Lilienthal
    Oct 29, 2015 at 22:53

Are you saying he's doing these things simultaneously? As in smoking and texting while trying to drive with no hands? And how exactly is he endangering other people's lives while doing this? Unless your company has specific rules on where to smoke, or driving with cellphones there's not much you can do. Even if your local area has laws against this there's little you can do without the officer directly seeing him/her do this even if you have picture/video evidences.

Unless he ran someone over, there's little you can do other than avoiding him when you are walking around the parking lot or driving around. Law isn't about preventing things but rather when something happens they can appropriately punish said person.

  • 2
    Waiting until somebody is killed isn't an acceptable solution, sorry.
    – Jasmine
    Oct 29, 2015 at 20:57
  • And you think his actions aren't dangerous? You need at least one hand free in order to drive! Oct 30, 2015 at 0:46

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