Fleet News

High profile fleets take safety lead with drivers

FLEETS throughout Britain are enforcing new bans on the use of mobile phones while driving. Some of the most high-profile fleets in the country have taken the radical step for safety, despite some companies claiming they cannot do anything because they do not want to upset drivers.

The Royal National Institute for the Blind is raising awareness of a ban on its 230-vehicle fleet introduced last year following recent publicity about the dangers involved. The RNIB's move comes as the RAC Report on Motoring 2001 revealed that 77% of company car drivers make phone calls while driving, while 35% of private car drivers do so. Alan Miles, the charity's administration and data protection manager, introduced the ban amid fears about the danger to both drivers and other road users. 'We are reinforcing the message to drivers by referring to the consequences for the driver and the pedestrian,' he said.

Already Permabond, run by market segment manager Andy Price, who took the Fleet News Risk Management Award 2000, has banned phone use following research that showed how dangerous it could be. Nineteen company car drivers from the firm took part in a driving test while answering work-related questions on a mobile phone and 18 had to slow down and eight drivers had 'accidents'.

Hampshire Police has also tackled the problem of radio use while driving, by putting a button on the floor for the driver to press, instead of holding a transmitter. However, Mary Williams, executive director of road safety organisation Brake, said: 'Using a mobile phone while driving greatly impairs concentration and drivers put themselves, their passengers and all other road users at risk. Brake would like to see the use of all mobile phones while driving made illegal, whether hand-held or hands-free. Fleet managers should take action by banning the use of all mobile phones in company vehicles while driving.'

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