Shocking Mobile Phone Truth - 24th March 2015

A recent survey reports, 1.6% of drivers are still using a hand held phone while driving despite it being illegal, and shockingly almost twice as many van drivers as car drivers were observed doing so. This equates to approximately 500,000 drivers 2/3 of who are van, and therefore possibly company, drivers.

The legislation making it illegal to use a handheld phone while driving was introduced in December 2003, with the fine being £30, raised in February 2007 to £60 and again in August 2013 to £100. As well as the fine there is a fixed penalty of 3 points. However, should the case go to court, depending on the severity of the outcome you could be disqualified from driving and receive a maximum £1,000 fine, (£2,500 for drivers of buses and lorries). While hands free is perceived by most drivers to be okay the police can also stop, and penalise drivers if they believe them to be distracted and not in control of the vehicle.

The survey, conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory for the Department of Transport, reported most drivers now hold the phone but do not put it to their ear, suggesting they are either texting, emailing or, of course they may have the phone on loud speaker in the hope they don’t get seen, raising the question, why do people still blatantly ignore the law and continue to use their phone?

Two possibilities immediately spring to mind; one being a lack of police presence, the second and most worrying, is a lack of realisation by and education of drivers why they should not use a phone on the move.

There is much publicity about the huge police cuts over the last 5 years probably increasing the drivers confidence to use the phone knowing there is little chance of getting caught. In reality this is of minor concern to a driver by comparison to what the outcome of using the phone could be. The distraction level while using a phone, whether it be hand held or hands free, have been proven by research to be higher than being over the drink or drug limits for driving. The reactions of the driver are significantly slower and the chances of having an accident, causing injury or death to another road user are greatly increased. It is widely reported that mobile phone use is a contributory factor in 1 in 4 accidents in the UK and should that happen while using the phone the outcome which most drivers don’t realise can be a prison sentence.

For employers who have employees driving for work who causes a death while using the phone, the outcome may be corporate manslaughter, making it vitally important for them to have transport health and safety policies in place and to ensure that they are monitored and enforced.

Many issues that feature in our news section may be of concern to you as an employer if you employ company drivers. It is important that you, as a company, are fully compliant with your responsibilities to those employees.

Fleetrisk24 Ltd specialises in Work Related Road Safety and Workplace Transport Safety and can help you put policies and processes in place to address your transport health and safety requirements.

For information about how we can help, in conjunction with you, manage your at work drivers, either:

Speak with an advisor on 01732 864999 or, Email:

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