Licence Bureau says a complete ban on mobile phone usage while driving is ‘long overdue and enforceable’.
It is backing a call from the Transport Committee in its Road safety: driving while using a mobile phone report, released earlier this month, which says the evidence is clear: “using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous, with potentially catastrophic consequences”.
Now in its fifth year of a complete mobile phone use ban for all employees while driving, the managing director of Licence Bureau, Malcolm Maycock, claims the enforcement of such a ban should be easier than many sceptics speculate.
“It is absolutely the right thing to do – lives are being lost and it is long overdue,” he said.
“Advancements in technology should enable the police to enforce a total ban, assisted by vehicle manufacturers and mobile phone providers.
“Patrol cars already have automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology onboard, as well as stolen vehicle detection systems, so why not extend this capability to identify mobile phone use in a vehicle?”
Maycock applauds how mobile phone detection warning signs have been introduced by several police forces across the UK as an education tool and is of the opinion that this approach could logically be extended to include camera back-up to identify single occupancy in vehicles.
Although there are clear financial and legal implications with regards to detection and prosecution, he believes drivers have had since 2003 – 16 years – to absorb the fact that using hand-held mobile phones or other devices while driving is illegal and now is the time to act.
Licence Bureau’s own no-mobile phone usage policy states “any employees driving on company business must not use any type of mobile phone, including hands-free, while driving”.
It is also company policy that if any employee calls or receives a call from someone they believe is using a mobile phone while driving, that the call is ended promptly.
Licence Bureau advises its business partners that any of their drivers caught using a mobile phone whilst driving can be charged with ‘failing to have proper control of their vehicle’, or ‘careless or dangerous driving’. Those drivers should also be subject to disciplinary action.
In March 2019, the House of Commons Transport Committee launched its inquiry into road safety which highlighted that in 2017 there were 773 casualties, including 43 fatalities and 135 serious injuries in road traffic collisions where a driver using a mobile phone was a contributory factor.