Many people who drive as part of their job are being pressured into answering calls while on the road, but employers are failing to provide them with legally compliant hands-free kits.
This is the finding of new research by RAC Business, which questioned 1,000 UK businesses from all fleet sizes and sectors, to highlight current attitudes to handheld mobile phone use and driving for work.
It found that 15% of businesses admit their drivers are ‘often involved’ in accidents while using a handheld phone, and 5% even said it happened ‘on a regular basis’.
Around 38% of businesses admitted they expect commercial drivers to answer calls while on the road but a third don’t provide legally compliant hands-free kits and 20% have no policy for mobile phone use while driving.
“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,” commented Rod Dennis, from the RAC’s Be Phone Smart campaign
“However just because it’s legal to use a hands-free kit, it doesn’t necessarily means 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,” he said. “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,” he added. “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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