Senior Consultant, Assurity Consulting
2nd March 2017
Following a spate of high profile court cases, lobbying by victim groups and campaigns within the press, the penalty for being caught using a mobile phone or other handheld device has doubled from 3 to 6 points with a minimum £200 fine.
With the growing number of devices at our fingertips such as mobile phones, sat navs and music players and the serious potential consequences (for us and others) of being distracted by such devices, this change in the law is welcome if it makes our roads safer.
So why is this important news for businesses?
Many organisations have mobile staff reliant on being able to be contacted or to make contact at all times, and most modern business vehicles have Bluetooth built in to facilitate this. But what many motorists don’t realise is that using even a hands free device whilst driving, although legally allowed whilst the car is moving, can still result in prosecution. An officer is within their rights to consider this enough of a distraction for a motorist to not be in full control of their vehicle.
Yet it is not uncommon for organisations to allow workers to make calls using hands free when driving, as if they didn’t their staff “wouldn’t be able to do their jobs”. But does this practise in turn sit well with the commitments they make within in their health and safety policies?
How many hazards could your staff be missing whilst trying to remember figures, information or meeting dates? Will a customer really go elsewhere if their representative within your business doesn’t pick up immediately?
With the risk of mobile staff losing their licence for being caught just twice making calls (first time offenders will no longer be offered a training course in lieu of points) and the devastating consequences of being distracted by business calls when we should be focusing on the road ahead, is it time to review your ‘Driving at Work’ policies and the communication expectations of your mobile workers?