Companies that ignore impending legislation banning the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving could be missing an opportunity to increase profits and improve customer services.
Vehicle risk management specialist Risk Answers claims that organisations can reduce mobile phone charges by as much as 60 per cent by implementing comprehensive mobile phone policies.
A recent audit of one company netted savings of more than £128,000 a year on mobile phone costs.
Risk Answers’ operations director Chris Howell said that policies should include how calls are answered dealt with in offices as well as procedures for making calls while out on the road.
“Businesses are wasting thousands of pounds a year because they do not have a comprehensive mobile phone policy for company car drivers. Too many ‘lonely’ drivers are using in-car mobile phones as an excuse to hold lengthy conversations with friends and colleagues. ‘
To encourage companies to comply with forthcoming legislation - currently under consultation following a Department of Transport review - Lord Chief Justice Woolf recently ruled that fleet drivers who cause a death by driving when using a mobile phone or falling asleep at the wheel should receive tougher jail sentences.
The proposals currently under consideration include:
• a £30 fixed penalty notice
• a fine on conviction of up to £1,000 or £2,500 for divers of goods vehicles or larger passenger transportation (more than eight passengers)
• penaly points and/or disqualification
Employers will be liable for prosecution if they ‘cause or permit’ the use hand-held mobile phones by staff. And using a hand-held mobile will only be permitted if a vehicle is parked, with the engine switched off.
Hands-free mobiles will be exempt.