A mobile strategy for the road: why your business needs to address mobile phone use while driving

On 1 March this year, the Government introduced new measures on motorists found using their mobile phones while driving. The latest legislation means that drivers now face a £200 fine and six points on their licence if they are caught – which is double the previous penalty.

Mobile phones are a huge distraction to drivers and the consequences of their use behind the wheel can, of course, be much more severe than just a Government-enforced fine. However, new figures show that many drivers are still using hand-held devices while on the road.

The Independent reported that Freedom of Information requests have revealed almost 6,000 motorists were penalised in the month following the latest police clampdown. This equates to around one every seven minutes.

With an increase in mobile working, it’s likely that many mobile phone users are, in fact, working on the move – from quick check-in calls with colleagues to hosting conference calls.

Building guidelines on mobile phone use into your overall mobile use policy can address this – ensuring employees not only stay legal, but stay safe.

Options that we’ve seen companies use in such policies have included:

  • A blanket ban on device use behind the wheel (which often isn’t practical or necessary)
  • Flagging travel time in shared calendars or schedules, which can influence when inbound calls from colleagues take place
  • Communicating a ‘car kit only’ rule to taking calls when driving (excluding the use of hands free headsets as acceptable)

To conclude, the new rules to take into consideration are:

  • It is illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving
  • Handheld mobiles are only permitted to be used in an emergency to dial 999, or when the vehicle is parked
  • Using a phone via hands-free is allowed, but you can be stopped by the police if you are deemed to be distracted by the mobile
  • The rules apply even when your vehicle is stopped at traffic lights or in stand-still traffic

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