New law changes for the use of mobile phones in vehicles

Man using a mobile phone in car

A mobile phone is now an essential piece of work equipment and as such we all need to recognise how to use it safely and appropriately, and this is particularly important when driving a vehicle.

On 1st March 2017 the enforcement action being taken against drivers using handheld devices doubled to a £200 fine and 6 penalty points on a licence.  Drivers caught using a phone within 2 years of passing their test will have their license revoked under the new rulings in England, Scotland and Wales.

This means that any user of a handheld device (user could be defined as using the phone for Sat Nav or texts) who is cautioned twice is now potentially liable to be removed from the road for a period of time.

Recently, we have seen several Police Forces throughout the country increase their actions against drivers in advance of the changes.

All organisations have a responsibility for ensuring that they have suitable policies and practices in place to ensure that any equipment they provide is used appropriately and properly.

How will this impact your business?

Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Do you have a mobile phone usage policy?
  • Do you enforce any policies with regards to driving and mobile phone use?
  • Do all users of mobile phones in vehicles used for business have ‘Hands Free’ (regardless of if it’s provided as part of their role or not)?
  • Do you have a protocol in place when talking to anyone (staff or customers) on a mobile to ensure that it is safe to do so?

By dealing with the above four points, you will be able to demonstrate that you as an employer have considered the implications and have taken suitable steps to prevent any of your staff falling foul of the new rules.

One simple way of removing the urge to pick a phone up whilst driving may be to suggest to employees to activate Bluetooth then put the phone in a bag in their boot. That way they can answer calls within the law without being tempted to take the risk of checking texts or e-mails whilst on the road.

If you would like to discuss some of your concerns regarding mobile phone usage, call us or contact us today.

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