Safety first on mobile phones, warns FTA 08 June 2016

Safety is paramount, despite the importance of communications with HGV drivers, says the FTA (Freight Transport Association) in response to research, released today (8 June 2016), which suggests using a hands-free kit is as distracting as holding a mobile phone.

The study – by the University of Sussex – finds that drivers tend to visually imagine their phone conversations using the same part of the brain as is normally used to watch the road.

The result is a reduction in attention and an increase in reaction times.

But while campaigners call for a complete ban on mobile phone use in vehicles, FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham says many operators already have policies that prohibit mobile phone use in lorry, with drivers facing dismissal if caught.

“But the nature of the transport industry means some operators need to stay in regular contact with their drivers, especially if they are making lots of deliveries during the day,” warns Hookham.

The FTA’s view: “Phones and telematics equipment are valuable tools, but safety is paramount. Essential phone conversations should be kept short and chatting should be discouraged.”

Hookham says it is important for freight operators to have mobile phone safety policies in place and to ensure that all employees are aware of them.

And he warns fleet managers that the traffic commissioners will take a serious view of operators talking to their drivers on hand-held mobile phones.

Brian Tinham

Related Companies
Freight Transport Association Ltd
University of Sussex

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