Ladyman said: ‘Using a mobile phone at the same time as driving is dangerous.
‘Your concentration, awareness of what is happening around you and ability to react to situations is dramatically reduced.
‘Research shows that people talking on a mobile at the same time as driving react even more slowly than someone who has been drinking.
‘That is why we are urging people to switch off at the wheel. If you absolutely have to make a call, make sure you do it safely and within the confines of the law. This is the message we are asking all employers to give to their workforce. If a work-related call causes someone to break the law when driving, their employer could be liable for prosecution.’
Transport officials have issued a series of tips for employers to follow to ensure their employees remain within the law when new penalties are introduced from February 27.
Drivers caught using a hand-held mobile while at the wheel will face three penalty points on their licence and a £60 fine. The Department for Transport has issued a statement saying that while the offence relates to the driver of the car, employers must also be aware that they can be liable for prosecution if they cause or permit employees to use a phone while driving.
This also applies to hands-free kits if the driver is found not to be in proper control of their vehicle as a result of taking a work-related call.