Talkative on the road

Driving is the most dangerous work activity that most people undertake. The
British Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has led a campaign to
highlight the risks faced by company car and van drivers and others who are on
the road as part of their job.

Pressure of business can make workers more likely to speed or to make calls
while on the move. RoSPA's new publication Driving for Work: Mobile Phones has
been produced with the support of the Department for Transport to help bosses
deal with the problems.

Research shows that using hand-held or hands-free phones while driving is a
significant distraction and substantially increases the risk of the driver
crashing. High mileage company car drivers are more likely than most to use a
mobile phone while driving.

If we are to reduce the number of work-related road accidents, it is vital that
employers play their part by having policies in place to deal with managing
occupational road risk, including tackling mobile phone use.

Some employers provide mobile phones or reimburse the cost of work-related
calls made on private ones. There are good business reasons to do so.There are
also good health and safety reasons for lone workers and staff who travel in
areas where summoning help (if they break down, for example) may be difficult.
But, this should not mean that staff should use the phone while driving.
Drivers who use a mobile phone, whether hand-held or hands-free:

  • are much less aware of what's happening on the road around them
  • fail to see road signs
  • fail to maintain proper lane position and steady speed
  • are more likely to 'tailgate' the vehicle in front
  • react more slowly and take longer to brake
  • are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic
  • feel more stressed and frustrated.

Research indicates that they are also four times more likely to crash, injuring
or killing themselves and/or other people.

Using a hands-free phone while driving does not significantly reduce the risks
because the problems are caused mainly by the mental distraction and divided
attention of taking part in a phone conversation at the same time as driving.

Further information

AplusA-online.de - Source: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents