With tougher penalties for using mobile phones while driving, Philip Sayers, Employment lawyer at Coodes Solicitors, outlines an employer’s responsibilities to its staff.
“Penalty points and fines for using mobile phones while driving have now doubled, while new drivers will lose their licence if they’re caught on their phone while at the wheel. With many staff driving during work hours – perhaps travelling to a meeting or between different places of work – employers should draw up an appropriate policy to protect the business and its staff.
“If your business has a culture of staff being on calls while driving, the company could be held liable for accidents. As a starting point, it would be worth businesses reminding employees that there is no expectation for them to use their phones while driving, even if the vehicle is fitted with a hands free device. Some employees might see time travelling between appointments as an opportunity to catch up on calls to clients, for example, so it is important that the company does not promote this.
Even if they are not using their hands to operate a phone, drivers could still find themselves “driving without due care and attention” if they are on a hands-free call.
“Proper guidelines could protect an employer if they have to take disciplinary action against an employee for using a phone while driving. For roles that require staff to drive, they may not be able to continue in their current role if they lose their licence. In these cases, businesses should consider finding a new role for the employee that is not dependent on them having a driving licence, or risk facing unfair dismissal claims.
“It is in everyone’s interest to get this right. For an employer there is a risk of health and safety prosecutions and insurance claims. For an employee, there is the risk of prosecution, losing their driving licence and their job. And, importantly, our roads will be safer if we stop using mobile phones while driving.”
For more information on this or any Employment enquiries contact Philip Sayers, Employment team, Coodes Solicitors on 01872 246200 or email@example.com