Fleet News

Employees under pressure to answer hands-free phones

Nearly one in five (19%) employees say that their employer is not actively encouraging the safe and legal use of mobile phones while driving for work.

Figures from an AA/Populus survey also reveal that more than one in 20 (7%) feel under pressure to answer their hand-held work mobile when driving for work or commuting.

Meanwhile, 2% said they have been explicitly told they are expected to return emails, texts and calls when they are driving for work or commuting.

Simon Stammers, AA DriveTech fleet director, said: “We understand that people are often under considerable pressure to be available to their work at all times.

“But, driving is the most dangerous task the majority of employees undertake while at work, so feeling that you have to respond to calls, texts and emails when you are driving is an unnecessary risk.

“It is especially worrying that some people say they have been explicitly told they should respond to calls, texts and emails when they are driving.”

The survey of nearly 7,000 people also suggested that around one in six (15%) feel under pressure to answer their hands-free work mobile when driving for work or commuting, while 4% said they have been criticised by their manager or colleagues for not responding to emails, texts or calls when driving for work or commuting.

However, the vast majority (88%) of respondents disagreed that it is a fundamentally safe activity to make or take calls while driving. Men (87%) were less likely than women (90%) to think this.

Regionally, drivers in Northern Ireland were the most likely (8%) to disagree that using a hand-held mobile reduces their ability to react to hazards. Drivers in the South West, East, East Midlands and North East were the least likely (5%) to disagree with this.

Besides the dangers posed to the individual taking and receiving calls, texts or emails while driving, companies have a duty of care to employees they also run the risk of facing charges of corporate manslaughter in the worst case scenario.

Stammers concluded: “Employers have a statutory duty of care and, besides the risk to their employees, they are putting themselves at risk of liability and criminal charges in the event of a crash if the company’s actions, or lack of them, is deemed to have contributed to the incident.”


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