Fleet News

Concerns around distracted drivers remain high

Fleet200 executive club logo

Distracted driving proved a hot topic at a roundtable discussion for public and private sector fleets at December’s Fleet200 Executive Club meeting.

A common theme was policies can be put in place but how do you properly police it? One delegate also questioned why commercial vehicles should offer any creature comforts, when they are basically a work tool.

  • We have a complete no-use policy on using mobile phones in company cars, grey fleet and commercial vehicles. However, I can’t say they all abide by it. The only time we find out they haven’t followed the rules is when we get a penalty notice, and then we’ll come down hard on them.
  • At our company, if you phone someone and it’s obvious that they’re in a vehicle then you must hang up on them.
  • It’s very hard to disconnect your phone when it controls so much of what goes on in a vehicle, music, sound, emails etc. What does it mean if I use my phone for one of those on the journey home from home? Where does the liability sit?
  • We have telematics fitted that highlight regular excessive speed and things like that, not just over 70mph but speeding in a 30mph limit. And we’ll have conversations with drivers, telling them ‘you’re bordering on gross misconduct and you will be let go’.
  • Why are you able to attach so much stuff to commercial vehicles, AirPlay, Android Auto etc? It’s different for cars but this is clearly a commercial vehicle. I would also like to see them leave the factory limited to 70mph, they don’t need to go any faster than that. You can’t take guards off factory equipment because it might mean you work 15% faster so why can you do it on a commercial vehicle?
  • Why do vans offer a car-like experience? I don’t want it to be a car-like experience because I want the driver to know they’re not in their car, they’re in a van. You couldn’t spec something in a factory or warehouse that allows you to break the law.
  • It’s not just phones, you can be distracted by anything, including eating at the wheel
  • I got knocked off my motorbike by a cabbie who had a pie in one hand and a coffee in the other. I was a traffic cop at the time.
  • We’re bringing in more online training for drivers. They may not have been caught driving while distracted but any findings will come from telematics. It’ll look at speeding and harsh braking etc.
  • You can show drivers all the scary adverts of crashes and while they’ll think it’s awful, they won’t modify their behaviour, they’ll just think ‘that won’t happen to me’.
  • Until you speed camera the whole motorway network, you’ll always have speeding drivers.
  • I think a lot of companies don’t make the link between what happens out on the road to health and safety obligations.  
  • And some departments don’t factor in journey time when they send drivers out on jobs. They may have to travel 100 miles. We’ve had to ask different departments to factor in journey time to and from jobs.
  • If you ask a gas fitter who’s visited your house are they a driver, they’ll say ‘no, I’m an engineer.’ But their van is parked outside, so they are a driver. They’re more likely to be injured in the van than they are messing around with a central heating system.

Fleet200 Executive Club: join us

If you're a fleet decision maker interested in joining the club and attending the final meetings of this year (November and December) and our meetings in 2021, email nicola.durrant@bauermedia.co.uk.

Membership is free.

The Fleet200 Executive Club is a group of the most influential fleets operating in the UK.

It produces research on key fleet trends and holds events which bring together the UK’s most professional fleet decision makers to debate the issues of importance to their businesses, share ideas on new initiatives and industry developments, and hear from outstanding, thought-provoking speakers.

2022 dates will be announced soon.



Find out more

Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

Login to comment


No comments have been made yet.

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee