Fifth of firms admit drivers ‘still break’ mobile phone law

Fifth of firms admit drivers ‘still break’ mobile phone law
The RAC has urged companies to “uphold their duty of care” to employees, after one in five firms reported accidents involving their driver using a mobile phone behind the wheel.

According to new research by RAC Business, 19% of companies admitted their employees had been involved in an accident while using a handheld phone.

Out of the 1,000 UK firms examined, a further 15% of businesses said their drivers were “often involved” in incidents after picking up a call behind the wheel.

A shocking 5% said it happened “on a regular basis” – despite the penalties for using handheld phones at the wheel being raised on March 1, 2017.

READ MORE: Thousands of repeat offenders happy to try their lunch with mobile phone use

The organisation also discovered 38% of small or medium sized businesses expect commercial drivers to answer calls while driving.

Nearly half of larger businesses expect them to do so – despite a third of all firms admitting that they don’t supply their driver with legally compliant hands-free kits.

The RAC has now called for firms to put stricter policies in place.

Rod Dennis, from the RAC’s Be Phone Smart campaign – which aims to encourage drivers to ditch their phone while driving – said: “Our survey says 70% of employers do provide hands-free kits, but in our view that still needs to be much higher, and every business should have a clear code of conduct or policy for drivers.

“However just because it’s legal to use a hands-free kit, it doesn’t necessarily means it’s always safe to do so, and it certainly shouldn’t be used to have long conference calls or to proactively make lots of calls on a long journey.

READ MORE: Mobile phone driving laws – your questions answered

“It should always be down to the driver in terms of how they feel about taking a call and they should only do so if they judge it to be safe and not causing them a distraction.

“In the same survey we asked businesses whether it was important to uphold their ‘duty of care’ towards their company drivers and 92% agreed it was.”

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.