Royal Mail/CWU Road Safety Campaign – Mobile Phones – W/C Monday 12 August 2019
Background and Context
The importance and aim of the August Road Safety Campaign is to raise awareness amongst our members who are drivers about the risks and dangers of using mobile phones, including ‘hands free’, whilst driving. The law and Royal Mail policy is applicable to all employees, including van drivers, HGV drivers and car drivers.
The campaign will concentrate on key messages to drivers and managers with the emphasis on how important it is for drivers to refrain from using their mobile phones including ‘hands free’, for any purpose while driving. We want all drivers to be safe, legal and not distracted whilst they are behind the wheel on the UK’s busy roads.
Dangers of Using Your Mobile Phone While Driving
Mobile phone use while driving is not only illegal but it is widely considered dangerous by road safety experts and road safety organisations and charities (e.g., Think, Roadpeace, Brake, RoSPA, RAC, AA, AIRSO, FTA, Police etc.,) due to its potential for causing driver distraction and crashes.
There have been many reported horror stories about the dangers of phone use and driving with today’s phone technology and the use of mobile phones in everyday life. Most of these warnings are about the specific risk of driver distraction that phones can present to drivers. Using a phone in any way while behind the wheel can distract anyone enough to cause an accident. Many people fail to realise that being on their phone while operating a vehicle endangers not only their life but the lives of everyone around them on the roads as well. Accidents caused by drivers distracted by mobile phones are accidents that can be avoided!
Hand-Held Mobile Phone Driving Offences
It’s an offence to use a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving a motor vehicle under current UK law. Driving includes being stationary if the engine is running, including in traffic queues and at traffic lights. Prosecutions for these offences are designed to promote UK road safety. This offence carries a standard fine of £200 and 6 penalty points, with a maximum of up to £1000 and 6 points on your driving licence (the fine can rise to £2,500 if you are driving a heavy goods vehicle, bus or coach. If a driver chooses to reject the fixed penalty and asks for a court hearing they will be at risk of higher fines and court costs but the points will remain the same.
Drivers can be prosecuted not just for having a phone in their hand and in use. It includes using the device for any telecommunication purpose, not just making or receiving calls. This includes texting while driving, using any other Apps, or messenger services that allow the driver to communicate with other people. This offence is not just using a mobile as a phone to talk to people while driving. If you get caught driving while using a mobile phone and if you were considered to be holding the phone, you will be at risk of 6 points and a fixed penalty or a summons to court.
Not Being in Proper Control of a Vehicle
It’s important to realise that even if a driver is using a ‘hands-free’ mobile phone device, if the police consider the driver is being distracted and it has affected their standard of driving, they will still be committing driving offences such as not being in proper control of their vehicle or careless driving or even dangerous driving. That’s why under Royal Mail’s own driving rules, all mobile phone use including ‘hands-free’ is strictly forbidden.
If a driver is involved in a road traffic accident and their telephone records show that they were using their mobile phone at the time of the incident, even via voice activation, it could have serious legal implications for them.
Mobile Phone and Royal Mail Policy
Royal Mail Group policy prohibits the use of mobile phones, PDAs or any other device including hands free that may cause distraction whilst driving on behalf of Royal Mail Group (Royal Mail, Parcelforce, RMSS, RMP&FS, RME, RM Fleet, etc.,) and by doing so is a breach of business standards.
Facts and Figures
- Drivers talking on the phone are four times more likely to be in a crash that causes injury, even if using hands-free devices.
- Having a telephone conversation takes focus off driving, and it is this mental distraction rather than any physical distraction, which causes the increased risk.
- Distracted drivers have 35% slower reaction times and poorer lane control.
- Drivers reading and sending text messages are 23 times more likely to crash than an attentive driver.
- In the Department of Transport Annual report published in 2016, there were 83 cases where drivers were involved in a fatal accident related to using their mobile or being distracted while driving. A further 459 drivers were involved in a serious RTC related to mobile phone use and distractions while driving.
CWU Area Health & Safety Reps Involvement
CWU ASRs are to be fully involved and consulted on joint Road Safety Week activities and attached is an ASR Road Safety Campaign task/activity guide and list to follow. This includes carrying out visits to units, safety inspections and speaking to drivers. ASRs full support is very much appreciated by Royal Mail Group and the CWU.
ASRs are asked to agree with Operational Managers, which units they plan to visit and jointly support during this Road Safety Campaign, and:
- Assist the Front-Line Manager in delivering the WTLL (which will be published on Friday 9 August).
- Carry out additional activities to increase awareness.
- Remind drivers of LGV’s and HGV’s (where applicable) to carry out preparations checks in their cabs before they set out on their journeys.
Engage Drivers and Check that they have:-
- Received the WTLL briefing on mobile phones (which will be published on Friday 9 August).
- Seen the poster (copy attached).
And that they:-
- Follow Royal Mail policy on mobile phones at all times whilst driving.
- Put their phones in drive mode/silent before starting their journeys.
- There’s a pre-campaign mobile phone survey which will be sent out via the Workplace Platform next week, so please keep an eye out for the notification when it goes live.
- The materials for the WTLL will be sent out to offices on Friday 9th August.
- Please brief all other CWU Reps.
- FINALY – REMIND DRIVERS THAT EVEN A MOMENT’S DISTRACTION CAN CAUSE AN ACCIDENT WITH DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES.
Ask Front Line Managers:
- What activities have they completed for the Mobile Phone Road Safety Campaign?
- Have they made all drivers aware of the actions they need to take?
Thanks for your support and assistance.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer