Fleet News

Minister gets tough on phone offenders

EMPLOYERS who cause drivers to use mobiles on the move could be prosecuted under the tough new laws which came into force this month, road safety minister Dr Stephen Ladyman has warned.

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.

  • For more information, visit www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk.

    DfT advice

  • Ensure employees have time to take breaks when they can check voicemail and make calls, which will also help reduce fatigue.
  • Encourage employees to switch off their mobile phone or put it on silent mode while on the move to remove the temptation to answer it.
  • Make it company policy not to use a mobile phone while driving to demonstrate the commitment of the organisation to employee safety.
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