Mobile Phone Article



Recently a family of three were killed in a road traffic accident with a commercial vehicle. The subsequent investigation established that, at the time of the accident, the driver was texting. Research suggests that a driver who is texting is 23 times more likely to have an accident.
The increasing awareness of the dangers of texting whilst driving means that, in the case of a serious road traffic accident, the Police are likely to look at the records of any relevant mobile phone, and, of course, it is increasingly easy to examine the call history of any mobile phone.
Additionally it should not be forgotten that the employer of the driver of a commercial vehicle will, at the very least, share the responsibility if the driver’s use of a mobile phone contributed to the accident and the use occurred whilst the driver was working for the employer.
Every employer should have a clear written policy dealing with the use of mobile phones whilst working. This policy should be reviewed and up-dated at reasonable intervals. It should also be possible to show that it has been given to every employee, possibly by getting a signature from each employee confirming receipt of the policy.
The employer should have a record of every mobile phone held, and used, by an employee, with the number and a description of the phone i.e. standard, smart- phone, or android.
There should be written instructions given to those working in the traffic office, or to those responsible for giving drivers delivery or collection instructions, to ensure that there will be no occasions during the course of the working day when the driver of a vehicle will be expected to have a conversation on a mobile phone whilst they are driving.
Clearly it may be necessary to speak to a driver in the course of a day but this should always be at pre-arranged times when the vehicle is stationary. The driver, of course, should know that no call should be made whilst the vehicle is moving. For this purpose, the vehicle will be deemed to be moving if it is stationary with the engine running.
It is clearly difficult to supervise drivers when they are away from base. This is particularly true if a driver receives a call from home, or from a close friend whilst they are driving, or needs to make a call of his own. The fact remains however that if an accident is found to have been caused, or contributed to, by the use of a mobile phone, the employer may find that he is being expected to share the blame.
The only available defence may be persuasive evidence to show that there has been specific training for employees dealing with the dangers that can arise from the use of a mobile phone. Any employee who is likely to use a vehicle in the course of their employment should receive this training which should be provided at reasonably frequent intervals.
Other relevant evidence would be disciplinary records showing that prompt and effective action had been taken against any employee found to have been using a mobile phone whilst driving.
As the technical capabilities of mobile phones increases it is inevitable that the public make greater use of the facilities that are offered. The sight of a driver here in Ireland using a phone whilst driving is commonplace and, of course, a driver on the phone does not necessarily have an accident.  The problem is that, when an accident does occur, it tends to be serious.
For advice on any transport law issues, contact Jared Dunbar on 01829 773 105
Contents believed to be correct at time of writing and article written on 01.07.14

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *