UKHSU - The United Kingdom Horse Shoers Union
Understand the new mobile phone laws
Driving while using a hand-held device became an offence on 1 December 2003. The legislation impacts on both individuals and employers.
A hand-held device is something that "is or must be held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function". This could include cradling the phone between a driver's shoulder and ear.
Examples of 'interactive communication' functions are making and receiving calls, texting, accessing the internet and sending and receiving still or moving images.
There are some exemptions:
'Press to talk' radios, for example, those used by the emergency
services and taxi drivers
Potential employers' liability
Employers also face potential liability if they 'cause' or 'permit' an employee to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device while driving or if they fail to forbid employees to use such phones while driving on company business. Employers must therefore develop and communicate a policy forbidding staff from using hand-held mobiles while driving.
Mobile phone policies
Employers should make it clear that employees, who are driving a vehicle, must not make or receive a call on a hand-held mobile phone unless parked with the engine switched off. Insist also that any employees found in breach of this policy would be subject to the employer's disciplinary procedure.
If it is essential for your employees to be contacted when they are driving, they should be told to let calls go to voicemail and to stop regularly to listen to messages, responding to them only when parked with the engine switched off. Managers should also be advised not to attempt to speak to employees if they know they are driving.
Employers may choose to provide hands-free sets to employees to try and limit potential liability. In this case any policy should also include guidance on using hands-free phones. For example, recommend that calls be kept to a minimum, with no outgoing calls made unless the vehicle is stationary and the engine switched off.
Develop and communicate a policy forbidding staff from using hand-held
mobiles while driving.