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How would you feel if you were sacked from your job – because you took a hands-free phone call in a company vehicle?
Safety experts are now stressing the growing dangers of drivers being distracted by gadgets and devices in our vehicles. Even hands-free phones are coming under scrutiny.
Bosses at the international construction company, Balfour Beatty have reacted to the growing risks of driver distraction by imposing a blanket ‘no calls’ rule.
Any staff member on company business must “never use a phone of any type while operating a vehicle”, they say. The ultimate sanction for breaching this ‘Global Safety Principle’ is being sacked.
The company has 18,000 drivers in the UK and double that number worldwide. John Dunne, Group Head of Health and Safety told us this month: “Even using a phone on hands-free can be a distraction. In terms of safety, it’s the equivalent of driving over the limit. We’re trying to send a clear message.” He said Balfour Beatty would now analyse call records after any accident in company vehicles.
Mobile phones, sat-navs and dashboard gadgets are even being blamed for an increase in road accidents too. Researchers this year found that one-in-five drivers had spotted another motorist taking a picture while driving and more than a quarter confessed they had sent a text or email while driving.
It can be a minefield out there of things that can cause distractions whilst driving. There are many ways though that you can try to avoid getting distracted whilst driving, so we’ve put together a few ideas to help you:
• Put your mobile phone onto a call forwarding setting, turn it on silent or hide it away
• Enter your destination into your sat-nav before you set off, not on the move
• Hide your mobile phone away in a glove compartment or bag
• If you are drowsy, pull off the road to a service station
• Try to limit the number of passengers in your vehicle, as well as the level of activity inside the car (such as tablets, screens and mobile devices)
• Avoid eating while driving
• Prepare ahead, send all emails, texts and make all phone calls necessary before your journey
Remember that getting distracted and using mobile phones can cause accidents so stay safe and plan ahead.