Fleet News

Drivers are ignoring mobile phone laws

TENS of thousands of company car drivers are still using a hand-held mobile phone while driving, almost five months after it was made illegal.

Not only are drivers flouting the law, they are also ignoring company policies that state drivers must not use them. The number of companies with mobile phone policies has surged from 33% in 2003 to 83% today.

More than 1,300 drivers were interviewed to give a picture of attitudes towards phone safety in a survey carried out by Godfrey Davis Contract Hire, the corporate division of Bank of Scotland Vehicle Finance.

The report, 'Company Cars – The Driver Perspective', launched by TV motoring journalist Vicky Butler-Henderson, said: 'Following the change in mobile phone legislation, the message appears to finally be getting through to employers, with 83% of employers having a policy on the matter which the drivers are aware of.'

But the report also revealed that there were important areas of risk management for companies to consider.

Four out of five drivers polled have never been offered driver training, the report claimed, a figure unchanged in the past three years.

Nigel Underwood, head of corporate sales at Bank of Scotland Vehicle Finance, said: 'There is a concern for companies with no training policy at all.

Some companies may choose not to provide driver training for all but it is not difficult to pin point high risk drivers and I support policies which don't necessarily offer blanket training but decide who needs to be trained.'

The survey also showed that the number of drivers having accidents had decreased slightly.

But the survey added: 'It is clear that an employer would be well advised to use management controls and, where called for, training, to reduce the likelihood of accidents. 'Simple steps such as analysing schedules and journey patterns to reduce mileage can make a real difference.'

Additional findings from the survey show that a company car is the second most important employee benefit after a pension.

The report states: 'Far from the previous thought that the company car was dead, it has lost none of its value as an employee benefit, as it ranks second only to a pension scheme. There are other strong messages for employers.

Holidays and flexible working have both increased in perceived value while cash (profit share) is static.'

Safety is also now the top priority drivers take into account when selecting a company car. Back in 2002, brand name was considered most important followed by specification and features.

'Safety has now taken the top spot by marginally scoring the highest, with specification and features coming a close second. Brand name and image is stated as the least important factor,' the report states.

  • See next week's Fleet NewsNet for an in-depth look at 'Company Cars – The Driver Perspective' survey

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