Put your phone away!

December 10, 2022
Road Safety Management for Fleets - ONO App

The laws have changed and gone are the days when you could maintain your mobile phone usage innocence by stating ‘I was not on a call guvnor!’

Mobile phone driving laws have been in place since December 2003,  so drivers have been aware for years that it’s illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving – including to follow a map, read a text or check social media; even when stopped at traffic lights.

But this had a legal loophole…

If you were caught using your phone to take pictures or play a game for example, then you would not be participating in ‘interactive communication’ (such as taking a call or text messaging) meaning you would not technically be committing an offence (so playing candy crush was ok but taking a call was not! Mind.blown! )  

Laws have tightened to address this problem and a driver can now be fined for any handheld mobile phone use – except when using contactless pay at a drive though!

Why is it a problem if I use my mobile?!

  • You are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around you
  • You can fail to see road signs
  • Proper lane position and steady speed is compromised
  • Tailgating the vehicle in front is more likely to happen
  • Reactions are slower and you take longer to brake

Ultimately drivers severely underestimate the danger and lack of focus when using or even glancing at a mobile phone. The consequences can be fatal!

But I’m a professional driver and need my phone to work!!

Working with fleet drivers is our speciality and we know how reliant a driver can be on his phone, whether it’s checking the next private hire job that pings in from a ride-hailing app, working out the quickest route to a parcel delivery or taking a call from a panicked roadside recovery customer.

However tempting it is to try and action the notification, drivers must remember they are 4 times more likely to have an accident.

What should I do then?

  • Set your phone to Do Not Disturb – you can still see your maps and work app but won’t be distracted by unnecessary notifications.
  • Remove temptation completely by putting your phone in your glove box!
  • If you must have it visible then always put your phone in a cradle that doesn’t obscure your view.
  • Set up hands-free calling, so if that call really can’t wait it means you’re not risking taking your hands off of the steering wheel.

Fleet owners can also be held culpable if they are seen to be the cause of a worker’s dangerous driving. Having a well-communicated mobile phone use policy is essential for both driver and fleet owner and many responsible fleets are using great technological advances such as the Safe Drive Pod to minimise risk in every possible way.

Fleets should also have robust processes in place in order to record and investigate any crashes and incidents that happen when an employee or contractor is driving for work, whether it’s in their own vehicle, hire or company vehicle. By fleet owners taking a proactive approach to incident management a fleet can monitor driver behaviour, improve driver safety and look to reduce risk and prevent recurring instances.

Fines!

The penalties are staying strong (6 penalty points and a £200 fine) for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving meaning there is an escalated chance your insurance premium will increase. But for professional drivers, the risks can also include losing your job and livelihood.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start putting safe driving practices in place, whether it’s for you, for home or for work.

Sharpen your incident reporting and management. Get in touch with our team and we can show you how!

I want to be in the know!

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I want to be in the know!

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