Can/should an employer require you to use your mobile phone while you drive?

Cliff Notes of the story (still long, bear with me lmao) are that I have about a 300 mile radius that I manage for my job. I’m supposed to have an army of sales reps that I manage to cover local areas within that radius. Due to some institutional deficiencies related ultimately to the company being both cheap and shady, the reps are all independent contractors. As independents, they are legally allowed to accept or refuse any job they please, per their contracts. Any job they refuse still has to be done, and I get stuck doing it, even though it might be 300 miles away in some cases. So a guy could theoretically have two stores right next to each other, one earns him a big commission, the other earns him, say, $6. He is completely within his rights to say I’ll do the big store, but I don’t want the little one, for any reason, whether it’s the money, or he just doesn’t feel like dealing a rude staff member there. So basically they’re free to cherrypick accounts. Also theoretically, I could lean on them by saying I’ll find someone new that will take the whole area... but the job is fucking terrible and a bad deal, I can’t even give it away, I haven’t hired a new employee yet since we switched to this type of contract, I was only able to keep the guys I had because we could manipulate it a certain way that’s too inconsequential to detail here. But basically I interview people and it gets as far as “how/how much am I paid?” and these people who came to me desperate for work are like “uhhhh... no fuckin’ way, dude, are you crazy?” So that’s what I have to work with, lmao, just as a preamble to the question.

Already almost out of words lmao... so basically I have days where I drive 5 hours ONE WAY to do some dumb little job that should be handled by someone else, but we can’t force them. I don’t text, email, or talk on my phone when I drive, I won’t even do hands-free, the mental distraction is the whole problem, not the visual/manual one.

Real question in the updates lmao
Updates:
26 d
The meat of the question: my boss gets angry that I’m off the grid while I drive, but that’s a safety issue to me. People, cars, and businesses alike existed for a long time before cell phones, they aren’t a necessity.

Can I be forced to field calls or be on the grid in this situation? I don’t feel they should be able to do that. It’s institutional deficiencies that result in me having to be on the road so long, and I’m not crashing my car just to answer a phone call, its not that serious.
26 d
Like I’m not a litigious person but I feel like I’d want to sue the company for termination over asking me to do something unnecessary and dangerous, not for the money, I don’t really need that, but for the principle and the precedent. Spend money to make money like a normal business, I’ll be much more available🙄
Can/should an employer require you to use your mobile phone while you drive?
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