Are your drivers obeying the law?
The dangers of using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel have been highlighted numerous times in the news this year, with some truly awful cases of distracted drivers causing the death of other motorists.
And yet, the sight of a motorist with phone in hand while behind the wheel driving on our motorways and A roads continues to be a common sight.
The challenge for businesses of course is how to ensure they keep in touch with their drivers and vehicles, while staying within the bounds of the law.
For a lot of businesses, their staff and colleagues are out on the road all day and there is little choice but to stay in touch using mobile phones. In fact mobile technology has been able to transform some businesses and make them more effective because of all the benefits that brings.
However business owners also have a clear responsibility and duty of care towards staff, to ensure they don’t put them in a position where they feel they have to answer a call or respond to a text.
That’s why the RAC launched the Be Phone Smart campaign earlier this year, to encourage people to think before reacting to their phone going off while at the wheel.
The law is clear – except in the case needing to call 999 or 112 when it’s not safe or impractical to stop, your drivers should not use a handheld mobile phone while driving.
The only legal way to use any phone while driving is to make or receive calls using a properly-installed hands-free kit. More details can be found in our online guide to mobile phone use.
But it seems that the message is still not getting through to a hardcore of drivers, for whom even the prospect of causing an accident does not appear to stop them using their phone at the wheel.
According to research by the RAC, 60% of drivers said causing an accident would make them stop for good. However, Be Phone Smart campaign spokesman Pete Williams said he expected the figure to be significantly higher given that the consequences can be so severe in terms of the impact on human life.
The penalties for using a handheld phone at the wheel got tougher from 1 March 2017, and followed findings from the RAC’s last Report on Motoring which shone a light on how the number of drivers using handheld phones while driving had increased alarmingly across the UK in recent years.
Now, the latest Report on Motoring which was published mid-September, has once again highlighted concerns over drivers using their phones at the wheel, and it is top of the list of motorists’ concerns.
The newly-published report states: “The issue most commonly cited as a number one concern in 2017 is drivers using handheld mobile phones to talk, text, take pictures or access the internet: 16% of respondents say this is their top concern, which represents a significant increase on the 13% who did so 12 months ago. In total, 40% of motorists name handheld mobile use as a top-four concern, very similar to the 41% recorded in 2016.