THE Freight Transport Association (FTA) is supporting a call by road safety charity BRAKE for van drivers to stop using hands-free mobile ‘phones while they drive.
BRAKE reckons they are as dangerous as illegal hand-held sets.
According to the charity and its campaign partners Specsavers and Romex, more than half a million UK drivers (575,000) have points on their licence for using their mobile ‘phone at the wheel or being otherwise distracted.
One in 15 (6.5%) of these drivers have six points or more for driving distracted and four in five (78%) are male.
Expect a week-long campaign of police enforcement targeting drivers on the ‘phone
The campaign is being launched almost exactly a decade after hand-held mobiles were banned at the wheel, and is being supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers, who are co-ordinating a week-long campaign of heightened police enforcement across the country targeting drivers on hand-held ‘phones.
Christopher Snelling, FTA Head of Urban Logistics and Regional Policy said:
“FTA members know that it is illegal to use a hand-held ‘phone to text or call at the wheel, and recognise that anyone trying to multi-task when behind the wheel can be distracted.
“However, in support of Road Safety Week we would discourage any driver from taking part in a ‘phone conversation as it can affect their ability to control a vehicle.”
Companies can get straightforward advice on implementing such a ban and other measures to improve fleet safety by subscribing to BRAKE’s Fleet Safety Forum enabling them to access discounted and free places at BRAKE’s professional events, and a host of online guidance and other resources.
Julie Townsend, BRAKE’s deputy chief executive, said: “Many people who wouldn’t dream of drink-driving are succumbing to using their ‘phone and other distractions while driving, oblivious that the effect can be similar and consequences just as horrific.
“We’re calling on drivers to tune into road safety: turn off your ‘phone or put it in the boot, and never try to multi-task at the wheel.
“Companies can help to make this common practice by introducing a complete ban on phone use at the wheel and on staff speaking to anyone who’s driving.”
Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill added: “The UK has one of the best road safety records in the world and improving this record remains a top priority for the Government. That is why we have increased fines for using a mobile at the wheel, made it easier for the police to tackle bad driving behaviour and we are looking at how we can improve young driver safety.
“I welcome BRAKE’s Road Safety Week initiative which helps raises awareness of the importance of road safety.”