ARVAL PHH Accident Management research shows the police's reaction to phone use by drivers varies from region to region. Although some forces have advocated the use of hands-free kits, others have stated that in an accident any form of mobile phone use from the driver at fault will be considered as careless driving.
Nigel Rolfe, head of sales and marketing at ARVAL PHH Accident Management, said: 'Fleets must adopt a commonsense approach to the use of mobile phones, given their importance to modern business.
'However, they must also adopt a clear policy that is understood by all their drivers, whether that means the use of hands-free kits only while driving or a blanket ban on mobile phones when behind the wheel. If they are to manage their risk effectively, they must control this key aspect of driver safety.'
The confusion threatens to hamper calls for company car drivers to take the risk of using mobile phones while driving more seriously.
A series of real-life tests have shown that drivers can be dangerously distracted by taking phone calls while on the move, even with hands-free phones.
At a recent Fleet News Ride & Drive event at Oulton Park, fleet managers using a driving simulator made more mistakes and crashed more frequently when they were on the phone.