More than half of van drivers admitted to making calls behind the wheel without using a hands-free device, according to new research from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
The survey suggests that, on average, van drivers spend an average of 35 minutes on the phone each day in their vehicles, making an average of seven calls a day. One in 10 spend two hours on the phone while driving during the working day.
The results of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ investigation comes two years on from tougher laws governing the use of mobile phones.
Since March 2017, driving while using a device – including making calls, texting, taking selfies or posting on social media – has carried a fine of £200 and a six penalty point endorsement on your licence. Being caught twice is enough to have your licence revoked.
However, many are risking breaking the law by not having a hands-free kit in their vans (23%) or failing to use the technology even if their vehicle is fully-equipped (33%).
Just over a quarter (27%) said their vehicle was fitted with hands-free and they always use it to make phone calls while driving.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles offers a Bluetooth hands-free kit as standard across its entire model range. Sarah Cox, head of marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “Our figures show that many van drivers don’t have or aren’t using a Bluetooth hands-free kit behind the wheel – risking not only a fine and potential ban, which would damage business, but, more seriously, a potentially fatal accident.
“As part of our Working With You promise we ensure all our customers have the right accessories and equipment to make their jobs as easy and safe as possible, whether that’s offering flexible van servicing or something as simple as a hands-free kit as standard.”
Recent Government statistics reveal nearly half a million drivers still use their phones behind the wheel while phone distraction is listed as a contributory factor in over 30 deaths annually.
Does your business have a fleet of vehicles? Or do you have staff that drive to different venues or sites during their working day?
Its important that you have a suitable driving policy to cover driving at work and employees, in addition to a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. Ensure staff, including freelancers that may work for you, adhere to your policy and control measures, which could include turning off mobile phones whilst driving for example.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations require every employer to carry out an assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees, or themselves, whilst they are at work, and to other people who may be affected by their work activities.
This includes any work-related driving activity on the road. The Regulations require the risk assessment to be reviewed when circumstances have changed or where there is reason to believe the assessment may no longer be valid.
Our next article will look at the general arrangements for driving at work.
For further information, contact ESS via our contact page of our website