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Company car drivers continue to flout mobile phone law

Company car drivers continue to flout mobile phone law

(Posted on 05/03/18)

Fleet drivers continue to abuse mobile phone laws as research shows one in five employees at UK firms have been involved in an accident while driving for work due to using a handheld phone at the wheel.

RAC Business polled 1,000 UK businesses, across all fleet sizes and sectors and found 15% of businesses admit their drivers are ‘often involved’ in accidents while using a handheld phone with 5% claiming it happened ‘on a regular basis’.

RAC Business said one of the contributing factors could be that four in 10 (38%) businesses said they expect commercial drivers to answer calls while on the road. For larger businesses (500 to 1000 employees) that figure rises to 49%.

However, almost a third (30%) of businesses of all sizes don’t provide legally compliant hands-free kits and 20% have no policy for mobile phone use while driving.

Rod Dennis, from the RAC’s Be Phone Smart campaign said “It is illegal to use a handheld phone while driving. But at the same time, we recognise that businesses need to stay in touch with drivers and commercial vehicle drivers need to stay in touch with customers.

“The use of hands-free kits is within the law and that can provide a legal and safer solution for businesses, which is how many different businesses operate.

“If employers expect their company drivers and staff to take calls on the road, which 38% admit they do according to our research, then they should be providing legally compliant hands-free kits so they can do that without breaking the law.

“Our survey says 70% of employers do provide hands-free kits, but in our view that still needs to be much higher, and every business should have a clear code of conduct or policy for drivers.

“However just because it’s legal to use a hands-free kit, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always safe to do so, and it certainly shouldn’t be used to have long conference calls or to proactively make lots of calls on a long journey.

“It should always be down to the driver in terms of how they feel about taking a call and they should only do so if they judge it to be safe and not causing them a distraction.

“In the same survey we asked businesses whether it was important to uphold their ‘duty of care’ towards their company drivers and 92% agreed it was.

“Therefore, businesses need to have a policy in place which is not only clear in the expectations of their drivers, but also needs to have a high profile in the business to ensure the message is getting through.”

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