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FLEET SPEAK: Just how mobile should your phone be?

Date: 09 August 2010

Paul Barker is editor of BusinessCar

It's an issue that's rapidly gathering pace, but is it still acceptable to have your employees answering phone calls while they're driving?

As you'll see on page 10, a small but growing number of companies including the likes of Michelin, 3M, GE Capital and Pirelli are taking the initiative and telling their employees to switch off the mobile phone before they switch on the ignition.

It's perfectly legal to use a hands-free system, be it a Bluetooth headset or built-in car system, although if the driver is involved in an accident while on a call they could still be prosecuted if the police feel the conversation contributed to the accident.

It will be interesting to see how this trend develops. Those drivers who spend a lot of time on the road are generally wedded to the idea of being contactable all the time, and won't be keen to switch off, especially given the standard 'it won't happen to me' attitude synonymous with high-mileage corporate drivers.

In many ways, an employee who is parked and giving calls their full attention is a damn sight better than trying to give or receive information while doing 70mph down the M1.

Plus, there's the chance that, as this trend of changing opinion continues, your company's clients may start frowning upon people answering the phone to them while driving.

Maybe it's time to have a look at your fleet's mobile phone policy before other people start judging you on it.

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