Why Employers dare not ignore
the UK's new mobile phone law
Writes Tony Coe, Founder & CEO of Saunders 1865 - The VIP Relocation Company
At first glance, you may think that the info I have for you today is a little off-piste, but our ongoing support and tenancy management assistance in the UK does extend beyond pure tenancy management issues. We also provide ongoing advice to assignees with general Living in the UK issues – not just issues relating to their rental homes and leases.
As part of that program, last week my UK team sent an alert to all assignees about the UK’s new mobile phone law which I believe has BIG implications for employers. I would encourage you to take careful note of it. I’d also suggest that you draw the attention of your legal eagles to it.
I felt it was important to warn both our HR and expat communities about the potential consequences of using a mobile device while driving in the UK. The UK Government has certainly raised the Red Flag on this one by hardening the law enforcement around it.
And this is an issue where there’s a big cultural difference between the UK and other regions of the world – most notably parts of North America where I’ve found that, when driving, it’s commonplace for me to see almost every other driver around me with a phone pressed against their ear and animatedly involved in intense conversations.
- Drivers using a hands-free or handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards
- Research shows:
o You are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone
o Your reaction times are twice as slow if you text and drive than if you drink and drive - and this increases to three times if you use a handheld phone
- Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a serious crash.
- This clearly shows just how unsafe it is to use a handheld mobile phone or hands-free when driving. READ MORE
So in the UK, as of the first of this month, if you use a handheld device while driving, you will now receive 6 points on your driving licence and a £200 fine.
The law - what you need to know
- It is illegal to use a handheld phone or similar device while riding a motorbike or driving, even if you are stopped at the lights or in stationary traffic
- The same applies if you are supervising a learner driver
- The police can stop you if they think you are distracted, even if your phone or sat nav is hands-free
- Drivers can only use their phones to make emergency calls when it is "unsafe or impractical" to stop, or if they are safely parked
In practice what does all this mean?
Questions have been raised with police forces around the UK and these are the bullet points which have surfaced from enquiries:
**6 points and £200 fine for using a mobile whilst driving from 1st March 2017**
Advice to keep it simple:
- Keep your mobile in a cradle or glove box
- You can't touch the phone if it's in a cradle, even if you stop at lights and even if you're parked up with the engine on
- If you want to use the sat nav on a mobile or plug the charger in. You must set it up before keys are in the ignition and don't touch it once engine is on
- You can't scroll through tracks on your mobile while driving so have your playlist set up before entering the car
- You can't touch the phone when the engine is on. So, for example, Uber drivers can't accept work while they’re on the move
- Mobile can only be used if you’re parked up safely with engine off and keys out of ignition (Wireless keys - engine off)
- Death by dangerous driving is now life imprisonment, no longer 14 years
- You can use a mobile via built in-car technology like Bluetooth. However, if you do have a collision, it can go against you.
- You can't use headphones
- You can't use loud speaker from your phone
- You can't move your phone while the engine is on
- If you call someone and they are driving, hang up EMPLOYERS TAKE NOTE!!!
- If you are a passenger and the driver is using a phone, take it off them and tell them off
- If you are an employer and you force your staff to use a phone, it can result in imprisonment for you, large fines and your company being suspended from operation
- Rules apply to PDAs also
- 2.5 deaths a week due to a driver using a mobile phone
- No verbal warnings