The National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP) has launched a new guide that outlines how organisations can manage the risk of mobile phone distraction in vehicles to help protect workers from unsafe driving conditions on the job.
The Mobile Phone Use in Vehicles Policy Guide and Safe Use of Mobiles in Vehicles (SUMV) campaign, launched by the NRSPP, look at the issue of driver distraction and outlines how businesses can try to manage the risk by implementing a policy tailored to their business environment and worker needs.
The NRSPP, a coalition of Australian road safety authorities, research institutes, motoring clubs, medical bodies and insurance and telecommunications companies, urges Australian businesses to take advantage of the Guide to ensure their workers are aware of unsafe driving practices and organisations are providing a safe vehicle environment too help minimise risk.
“Through this initiative, we’re giving the business community the tools to take a proactive approach to educating workers about the risks from unsafe phone use, while also providing practical advice about how to realistically manage those risks in a professional environment,” said Jerome Carslake, Manager of the NRSPP.
“Illegal and unsafe mobile phone use while driving remains a major road safety concern across Australia, despite increased penalties and pleas from police about the serious risks of drivers taking their eyes off the road to text or dial a hand-held phone,” he said.
“It’s well understood that Australian business leaders have a responsibility to provide their staff with a safe workplace, but many don’t realise the power they hold in driving behavior change to create safer roads for everyone.”
The guide covers critical implementation steps such as identifying the current mobile phone culture, promotion of leadership from the top, employee education and incentives and consequences for workers who meet or fail to comply with driving laws.
The SUMV Working Group is led by the NRSPP in conjunction with supporting partners the ARRB Group, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Australasian Fleet Management Association, Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, Hard Edge, Optus, Futureye, IAG, RACV, Telstra, Transport Accident Commission and Vodafone.
“The SUMV recognised that workplace blanket bans on mobile phone use while driving were not always practical and changing the conversation to education and practical advice was essential to empowering workers to use their devices legally and responsibly when they feel it is safe to do so,” said Mr. Carslake.
“We are not advocating for the use of mobile phones in vehicles but that drivers and organisations need to be informed and understand the risks. It’s critical that there are clear processes in place to ensure the demands of a business’ operations do not encourage employees to use mobile phones illegally or in an unsafe manner.”