Update to the rules on using mobile phones – as an Employer, what should you do?

As detailed in our recent article, on 25 March 2022, the government introduced changes to the use of hand-held devices whilst driving.  Whilst there have been offences for the use of hand-held devices since 2003 the law limited the offence to circumstances where the device was being used for “interactive communication”.  That loophole has now closed with strict controls being put in place make sure that the use of a hand-held device whilst driving is illegal, except in very limited circumstances.  The new rules apply whether the device is online or offline (i.e. in flight mode) and applies to drivers who are:-

  • Stopped at traffic lights;
  • Queuing in traffic; and
  • Driving a vehicle that turns the engine off when stationary.

The only exceptions are if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency or if a contactless payment is to be made whilst the vehicle is stationary.

Commercial vehicle operators should take the use of hand-held devices seriously and should have strict processes in place for drivers founding to be committing an offence.  The change in law could be an opportunity for operators to reinforce this policy to its drivers.  If you do not have a strict policy in place you should consider drafting one and/or amending existing policies to provide greater clarity for you, your managers and your drivers.

If you need guidance from the Backhouse Jones employment team, please do not hesitate to contact them on 01254 828 300 or email employment@backhouses.co.uk

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