Any distraction that affects a driver’s ability to focus on what he or she is doing is a risk, even the use of hands-free mobile phones. In the event of a collision whilst using a mobile phone, it could well lead to a prosecution for ‘driving without due care and attention’, or worst case, for causing death by careless driving if that can be proved, which of course is relatively easy since service provider’s call records are available to the accident investigators.
Driving is the greatest risk faced by your employees. Selecting the right mobile phone policy for your organisation requires thought, discussion and commitment to whichever option is selected. There are three commonly used mobile phone policies that might be suitable to your organisation.
The use of mobile phones and other interactive communications devices (including personally owned phones/devices) is strictly forbidden at all times whilst driving. Mobile phones must be switched off or diverted to an answering service prior to the start of journey.
The use of mobile phones whilst driving is only permitted when using a legally compliant hands free system, and only to receive short incoming calls where the driver feels that it is safe to do so. If any call becomes complex or lengthy the driver must terminate the call immediately and advise the caller that he will call back at the earliest opportunity. The company does not expect or require any employee to answer calls unless it is safe to do so. Calls must never be initiated whilst driving, it is always safer to stop and give the conversation your undivided attention.
Mobile phones may only be used whilst driving when used in conjunction with a legally compliant hands free kit. The responsibility to make and receive calls rests solely with the driver. Mobile phones must only be used when it is safe to do so. The company does not expect or require any employee to make or receive calls and it is always the driver’s choice as to whether to use a mobile phone where it is safe.
Only the employer concerned can make the right choices for their organisation, in the light of their own business circumstances.
If the company policy is Option 2: short, incoming, calls only, and a driver is involved in a serious collision where the ensuing investigation reveals that lengthy incoming and outgoing calls were the norm for many employees, it could be construed that their policy is simply a sham and that reflects the company attitude to safety which could lead to an increased risk of prosecution or a heavier fine.
Finally, many drivers commonly have two mobile phones; a personal phone and a company phone. The company policy should apply to the use of all phones while driving. It does not matter whose phone it is, if a driver has a serious crash and it highlights policy flaws it can still lead to company prosecution.
What is your company mobile phone policy? How does it relate to what your employees might actually do in practise? Does your mobile phone policy provide your organisation with the true level of protection that you really need?
You can now assess your fleet risk free-of-charge with our online Fleet Audit. Answer a few questions about your fleet processes and receive a risk-scored report with advice on what to do next for any areas where there is an opportunity to reduce your risk. For free access to the Fleet Audit click here