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Government urged to use ‘carrots and sticks’ to tackle fleet drivers using mobiles

The Government should take a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to clamp down on mobile phone use behind the wheel, including targeting fleets directly.

Driver using mobile phone

Car and mobile phone makers must find a solution to distracted driving, says IAM RoadSmart

So says road safety charity IAM RoadSmart as it renews its calls for carmakers and smartphone manufacturers to work with the Government on a technological solution to distracted driving.

This month is expected to see DfT Ministers meet with mobile phone manufacturers to explore proposals on using technology could block mobile signals in moving vehicles.

This is in addition to the announcement last November that motorists caught using their phones will see tougher penalties.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, said simply hoping that drivers will ‘do the right thing’ is not enough, adding: “Every phone in use today already comes with a driving mode that can cut out calls, but they are very rarely used. 

“Carrots could come in the form of incentives for companies to fit new apps or to ensure their employees switch off on the go. For example, no government contracts unless you have a ‘no mobile phone use’ policy in place. 

“Sticks could come in the form of new penalties, but also links to insurance so your level of cover is reduced if you don’t have the new app switched on when you have a crash.”

He added: “The actual detail of the new technology will have to be worked out. But with accurate GPS and more sensitive movement sensors in most phones, it should be possible to target the driver’s phone whilst still allowing the ever growing range of connected car services such as sat-nav and traffic/tourist information.  Passengers should still have the ability to use phones as well.”

IAM RoadSmart has also called for carmakers to tackle the wider issue of distracted driving by technology, saying: “The modern dashboard contains a wealth of new services that may assist drivers but can also distract. A star rating system for in-car complexity would be a useful tool to alert drivers to the different ways they now need to interact with their car.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.