November 11, 2019
Contact us
Request a call back

Driving a vehicle is a hazardous task exposing the driver, any passengers, pedestrians and others in the vicinity to a number of risks as such it is important that drivers are able to concentrate on the task in hand.

In a modern vehicle there are often a number of devices that could cause a distraction if not used sensibly. While a lot of attention has been given to distraction caused by the use of mobile phones a driver could be also distracted by other devices such as sat-navs and even changing the channel on a radio.

As well as causing an incident a distracted driver could potentially be charged with a number of offences including driving without due care and attention depending on the severity of the incident.

The use of hand-held mobile phones while driving has been prohibited in the UK for many years however since the legislation was introduced phones have developed beyond simple communication devices and concerns have been raised that this has given rise to potential legal loopholes. Current legislation uses the term “interactive communication” under the definition of what constitutes use of a mobile phone, however modern smart phones can have a much wider range of uses.

In August 2019 the Transport Committee published a report “Road safety: driving while using a mobile phone” which made a number recommendations. The Government’s response setting out what action they intend to take, has now been published.

In particular the Government has announced they will urgently look at reviewing current mobile phone offences with a view to updating them to include all hand-held use. The Government expects to have proposals in place by spring 2020.

The are however no plans in the short term for extending any prohibitions to hands-free devices as this is considered a more complex matter, however the Government will undertake action to deter people from using a hands-free mobile phone while driving.

Of course it is not just drivers who can be distracted by technology, other road users and pedestrians can also put themselves at risk.

It is important that suitable policies are in place where you have employees who drive, whether on the road or on site, as part of their work. Please speak to your normal PIB Risk management contact or get in touch using [email protected] if you have any questions or would like assistance with developing a safe driving or occupational road risk policy.

The Transport Committee’s report and the Government’s response can be found on the UK Parliament website at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201920/cmselect/cmtrans/237/23702.htm