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Hands-free phones banned in company car safety move

17 April 2009

Hands free car phones are being banned for all company car drivers by a leading UK manufacturer as part of new occupational road risk measures being introduced to protect staff and prevent road accidents.

Company drivers employed by Telford-based Hager UK will no longer be allowed to make or take calls while driving, as part of a range of measures to reduce risk for those who drive at work. Motorists are four times more likely to crash while using a mobile phone.

Hager’s ban has been implemented following a call by the ‘Driving for Better Business’ campaign for safety-focused businesses to ban employees from using all mobile phones while driving after a company director was believed to have become the first person in Britain to be convicted of careless driving over the use of a hands-free mobile phone.

Lynne-Marie Howden (43), a director and head of sales at business consultancy company Insights, was found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving after crashing into another car on the A429 in Warwickshire in November 2007. The offence carries a possible jail sentence. However, she was convicted on the lesser charge of careless driving and was banned from driving for 12 months and fined £2,000.

Hager is working with corporate driver trainers, the TTC Group, to co-ordinate education for their motorists who drive in the UK and abroad as part of their job.

Hager managing director Peter Davies said: “Like most people, I’m sure on a number of occasions I had driven somewhere but had no real recollection of the journey because I had been too busy concentrating on a phone call.

“That doesn’t happen now. I have stopped talking and am focused fully on driving. I arrive at my destination relaxed, having enjoyed and remembered the drive, confident that I have been much safer. That more than makes up for the time it takes to catch up on the phone calls.”

Meanwhile, 90 company car and pool car employees will undergo classroom and on the road education from TTC instructors.

Hager’s HR manager Paula Pardoe added: “We don’t have many accidents, usually just minor bumps. But we are keen to reduce those accidents even more.”

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