Fleets fear their employees use phones while driving
The safety risk of company car and van drivers using mobile phones while behind the wheel is worrying business leaders.
New research by TomTom Telematics has found that more than two-thirds of senior managers in the UK are concerned that their employees text or access the internet while driving for work.
The study of 400 businesses found that one third have still not implemented policies or procedures to prevent their staff from using their phones while driving.
Beverley Wise, director UK & Ireland at TomTom Telematics, said, “A clear policy on the use of mobile phones should form part of a best practice approach to road safety, but cultural change is also vital. Ingrained habits are hard to break but continuous training, education and communication can help to change employees’ mindsets and encourage a greater focus on safe driving.”
A 2011 report by the World Health Organisation called mobile phone use a ‘serious and growing threat to road safety’, and the proliferation of smartphones has exacerbated the dangers.
“It’s a problem employers’ must tackle, however, if they are to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the wellbeing of their staff,” said Wise.
There are also stiff financial penalties for drivers caught using their phone while driving, with a standard £200 fine (€226) in the UK. In certain cases, drivers may even receive six penalty points on their driving licences – 12 penalty points would disqualify someone from driving.
The TomTom research found that 68% of companies still allow the hands-free use of mobile phones while driving, despite a wealth of evidence that suggests this is no less distracting than holding a phone.
“Businesses should consider this when deciding how far policies extend,” said Wise. “Technology such as telematics can also play an important role in helping to identify when employees are driving distractedly by continuously monitoring performance. Incidences of harsh steering or braking, for example, might be indicative of greater problems that require attention.”