A recent statement from the AA said, “While it’s not a specific offence, using a hands free phone can have a major bearing on whether or not you could be found guilty of careless or dangerous driving.” If collision investigators decide that the use of a hands-free phone was a contributory factor, prosecution could follow. Employers who are found to have placed pressure on staff to make and take hands-free mobile phone calls may also be found culpable.
Research from the road safety charity Brake and insurer Direct Line published in 2014 that shows hands-free phone use has increased from 22 per cent in 2006 to 38 per cent today. The Transport Research Laboratory found driver reaction times to be 30 per cent slower while using a hands-free phone than driving with a blood alcohol level of 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood (the UK limit) and nearly 50 per cent slower than driving under normal conditions.
John Davidge, head of fleet technical at Cardinus Risk Management, said, “It’s clear that the use of any type of mobile phone when driving causes loss of concentration. This could lead to an offence being committed and increases the risk of a collision.
“It’s vital that all organisations with employees who drive for work have a policy for mobile phone use and should consider banning the use of hands-free devices while driving.”
Cardinus Risk Management can advise employers on all aspects of their driving at work policies and will be happy to discuss the drafting of appropriate wording and providing driver training/education.
For more information about Cardinus occupational road risk management solutions call 020 7469 0200 or complete the online contact form.