Help Forum

Help requested posted on 18th July 2012:

Policy on handsfree use

At Volkswagen, we're reviewing our policy on use of handsfree devices on the move and wondered what other organisations have as their line on this.

There's growing evidence on the level of distraction these have the potential to cause, but a simple corporate ban impacts employees (in terms of extra time / pressure at home ringing missed calls at the end of the day) as well as employers.

Equally an unspoken expectation to make / answer calls could lead to legal action following through to employers in the event of a prosecution or accident.

What do you do in your organisation?

Paul Winter

Reply to this request


Response posted on 19th July 2012 by:
Alan Kennedy
Durham County Council
E: alan.kennedy@durham.gov.uk
T: 03000268166

Mobile Phone Use

Paul, Please pass me your email address and I can send on our code of practice to you.

Alan


Response posted on 19th July 2012 by:
Andrew Fraser
Falkirk Council
E: andrew.fraser@falkirk.gov.uk
T: 01324 504931

Use of cell phones in road vehicles

Paul,

Falkirk Council's policy:


4.6 MOBILE PHONES
It is a legal offence to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. Drivers can carry hand-held mobile phones in their vehicles but while the engine is switched on, the phone must be switched off, switched to divert or switched to a message service on silent setting.
Before making or receiving a call on a hand-held mobile phone, drivers must be safely parked with the engine switched off.
Supervisors and managers must not expect or instruct or in any way pressure employees to answer the phone whilst driving.
Hands-free phones may be used, provided the telephone is in its cradle, however it is advised that employees should only make outgoing calls in an emergency or when safely parked and receive incoming calls via a message system until safely parked.

Kind regards,

Andrew Fraser (VW driver, by the way :-))


Response posted on 19th July 2012 by:
David Clark
95 Alive Partnership
E: david.clark@northyorks.gov.uk
T: 01609 797479

Mobile phone use

Hello Paul,

As studies have shown that the distraction to driving is the conversation more than the holding of the phone, we in North Yorkshire have stopped issuing hands free units and have imposed a ban on the use of mobile phones in moving vehicles.

I can understand what you mean about the impact on employees work time but this is a small price to pay compared to the possibility of injury, death, damage and the prosecution of the individual, the line manager and the company.

I would suggest that it is not enough to just have a policy in place but to be seen to be acting on that policy if employees are found to be breaking policy rules.

You may be surprised to find how well employees adapt to not using their phones while driving.

Please feel free to call me if you wish to discuss this further.


Response posted on 19th July 2012 by:
Melvin Vincent
Dorset Police Driver Awareness Course
E: Melvin.Vincent@Dorset.PNN.Police.uk
T: 01305 227567

Policy on handsfree use

Dorset Police are currently working on Driver Distraction in collaboration with Warwick University who have provided results of interesting research. Happy to discuss in more detail if you want to call or email.

Regards,
Mel


Response posted on 19th July 2012 by:
Andy Duff
Moray Council
E: andy.duff@moray.gov.uk
T: 01343 562537

Hands-free mobile phone use

The Moray Council Policy is quite clear - the use of mobile phones, hand-held or hands-free, is banned while driving.
The inconvenience of having to return calls after work/at home is trivial compared to dealing with the aftermath of being involved in an accident, so that argument is spurious.


Response posted on 19th July 2012 by:
Matt Staton
Cambridgeshire County Council
E: matt.staton@cambridgeshire.gov.uk
T: 01223 699652

Evidence that risks are being appropriately managed

The responsibility of the company is to ensure that the risks from any activity are appropriately managed.

Evidence suggests that there is a significant risk from using a mobile phone whilst driving, hand-held or hands-free, with some studies comparing the effects to that of being at the drink drive limit.

In Cambridgeshire we have a ban on mobile phones being used whilst driving, however most journeys undertaken by staff will be relatively short, so this is a practical, appropriate approach. If your view is that a complete ban is inappropriate for your business then you need to show that a sensible approach is being followed. Some companies I have worked with have used a blanket ban and suggested that as employees are not expected to drive for more than 2 hours, they can use their breaks to make phone calls. Alternatively, it has been evidenced that the act of making a phonecall increases the risk further compared to just answering one so some companies have introduced a 'no making phonecalls while driving and on answering incoming calls, inform the person you are driving and, if necessary, find a safe place to stop and return the call.'

As I said at the beginning, it's all about appropriate risk management and there are a number of ways to go about it.

Sorry for the long post, but happy to discuss further over the phone/via email.

Matt


Response posted on 20th July 2012 by:
Paul Winter
Any other organisation
E: paul.winter@vwg.co.uk
T: 0773 889 3588

Handsfree

Thanks all - I really appreciate your comments and info. I want to go as far as I can towards a simple "engine on, phone off" policy so with you on that.

As you say, the policy is the easy bit. The challenge comes working on culture in a sales oriented business and ensuring it is lived by everyone (and followed up on for transgressors) throughout the business!

Have a great weekend

Paul


Response posted on 20th July 2012 by:
Ruth Gore
Safer Roads Humber
E: ruth.gore@eastriding.gov.uk
T: 01482 391458

Mobile phones

Hi Paul
Just to let you know that we did a short briefing paper on the effects of mobile phones (hand held or hands free)on driving in 2010. It pulls together a range of internal research and may help you explain why even hands free is dangerous.
I'm happy to send you a copy.
Regards
Ruth


Response posted on 23rd July 2012 by:
Christine James
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council
E: christinejames@weymouth.gov.uk
T: n/a

Mobile phones

As a driving instructor and having recently worked on training soldiers to drive I am completely behind any scheme that will make employers realise the dangers of being expected to answer calls whilst supervising a trainee. Not only is this illegal for an instructor to do, it is pure stupidity to expect us to do so.

I won't use any type of 'hands free' as this is an added distraction. I was reprimanded for not stopping on a 'clearway' to answer and for generally not answering. I was told that it may have been important and that the recruit may have been needed urgently; not so urgently to end up dead I pointed out.


Response posted on 25th July 2012 by:
Andrew Fraser
Falkirk Council
E: andrew.fraser@falkirk.gov.uk
T: 01324 504931

Stopping to use a cell phone

Christine James' response has prompted me to add: the number of times I have seen drivers simply stopping - regardless of their location - to use a cell phone, is a concern.
It might be wise, therefore, for policy formulators to remind drivers that they must find somewhere safe to park. Highway Code Rule 149 covers this, but it is not sufficiently emphasised in the current edition.


Response posted on 1st August 2012 by:
Stuart Geddes
Stirling Council
E: geddess@stirling.gov.uk
T: 01786 442442

Policy on hands free use

Stirling Council's policy does not permit the use of cell phone or hands free technology when driving on council business. This article may be of interest to you

http://www.drivingforbetterbusiness.com/article.aspx?article=1775


Response posted on 1st August 2012 by:
Helen Tickle
Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)
E: helen.dunn@dsa.gsi.gov.uk
T: 0115 9366283

3M's policy

I went to a presentation a few years ago where 3M shared their experience of introducing a 'no mobile phone use while driving' policy to a sales orientated environment. The details are here:

http://www.drivingforbetterbusiness.com/casestudies/3m.aspx


Response posted on 1st August 2012 by:
Helen Tickle
Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)
E: helen.dunn@dsa.gsi.gov.uk
T: 0115 9366283

3M's policy

I went to a presentation a few years ago where 3M shared their experience of introducing a 'no mobile phone use while driving' policy to a sales orientated environment. The details are here:

http://www.drivingforbetterbusiness.com/casestudies/3m.aspx


Response posted on 1st August 2012 by:
Helen Tickle
Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)
E: helen.dunn@dsa.gsi.gov.uk
T: 0115 9366283

3M's policy

I went to a presentation a few years ago where 3M shared their experience of introducing a 'no mobile phone use while driving' policy to a sales orientated environment. The details are here:

http://www.drivingforbetterbusiness.com/casestudies/3m.aspx


Response posted on 1st August 2012 by:
David Melton
dbda
E: david.melton@libertyinternational.com
T: +1 508 544 5321

Mobile Phone Use While Driving

Hello from the US. Apologies for the late response. My organization is not listed in the pull down menu: Liberty International Insurance. I selected dbda as a place holder so I apologize for that as well!

Numerous US States prohibit hand held device use while driving. Many companies and organizations have similar policies. The problem with those laws and those policies is enforcing them. Creating a regulation or a company policy without enforcement is, in my opinion, worse than having no law or policy at all. Company management must be completely behind these policies and absolutely in compliance with the policy themselves. They must not phone their employees when the employee is known to be driving. The first thing a manager should say when calling their employees mobile phone is, "are you driving and if so, please pull over in a safe place and call me back." And then hang up! Likewise, the employee should have their voice message say, "Thanks for your call - I am either driving or not available. Please leave a message."

By the way, congratulations on a wonderful Olympics so far! Well done!


Response posted on 1st August 2012 by:
Brian Lawton
TRL
E: blawton@trl.co.uk
T: 01344 770408

Company mobile phone policy

TRL has helped a number of companies with such issues in the past, and the queries on this thread are typical of those we have heard from others in a similar position. The policy change itself is certainly well-motivated given the evidence that mobile phone use (even hands-free) is distracting for drivers. The way in which such policy changes are introduced can have an impact on their effectiveness (for example the way messages are ‘sold’ to workers, and having ready-made answers for frequently offered counter-arguments) but this will tend to differ for each company. We would be more than happy to have a short discussion with you regarding this issue.


Response posted on 2nd August 2012 by:
Gareth Zimmerman
Driving Instructors Association
E: Gareth.Zimmerman@btinternet.com
T: 0771172384

Hands free driving/phoning

Mine is a personal response and NOT in behalf of the organisation to which I belong. My experience of the Bluetooth device in my car is that receiving calls while driving and especially during supervising a learner is definitely distracting. However, when I initiate a call using voice commands, I am not distracted because I am in charge, and find it similar to driving while talking with a passenger.


Response posted on 22nd August 2012 by:
Lisa Scott
Halton Borough Council
E: lisa.scott@halton.gov.uk
T: 07595 719 421

A cultural change

Hi Paul,

I know that it is a while since your posting and it has probably progressed beyond your initial request. However, if I can be of any assistance to you with regards to the challelgnes that you might be facing with implementing such a policy I would be more than happy to help.

I have intorduced quite a comprehensive driver policy here in Halton and used my experiences within my MSc in Management dissertation, looking at the challeneges of getting things on the agenda to promoting a sustainable change in the culture of the organisation.

I'll be more than happy to discuss things with you if you wish to contact me.

Regards, Lisa


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