Mobile phones and driving

Hi all,

My pet hate is people using mobile phones while driving. If I pull up next to a car and the driver is on their phone, I will always tell them to get off their phone. Usually, they will put their phone down and make an apologetic motion because they know they are doing the wrong thing and yet they still do it.

In Queensland, driving while using a mobile phone held in your hand is illegal, even if you’re stopped in traffic. This means you can’t hold the phone next to or near your ear with your hand, write, send or read a text message turn your phone on or off, or operate any other function on your phone.

You can be fined $391 and lose 3 points if your mobile phone is in your hand and is used for any reason while you are driving, including when you’re stopped at traffic lights or in congested traffic.

Two weeks ago, a distracted texting driver was jailed for 22 months for killing her passenger when she crashed at high speed.

Before you get into your car, turn your phone off and put it in the boot. Don’t be tempted to even touch your phone when driving, as it could be you who kills one of your loved ones, or an innocent bystander. No text or call is that important. Just don’t do it.

Nick Lines (EHS Advisor).

Cell phones are a very common workplace hazard

Cell phones are a very common workplace hazard, which can potentially cause a lot of accidents.

Like other distractions in the workplace like horseplay and chatting with colleagues, cell phones can make us lose focus on the job at hand.

It can get employees in trouble at work and cause serious injuries when these devices are used inappropriately.

Cell phones can pose the following workplace hazards:

Resulting in lost productivity

The loss of productivity that results from the use of cell phones and mobile devices at work is one of the most pressing issues for employers. In addition to surfing the internet, sending messages, taking pictures, and interacting with downloaded apps and games, cell phones and mobile devices such as iPads provide users with many other services. As a result, many employers prohibit cell phone use at work because of such distractions which can result in a huge loss of productivity.

Accidents involving equipment

Cell phone use on the job could cause someone to lose their life when access is granted to heavy equipment such as forklifts, bulldozers, and other heavy machinery. In an instance where an employee is reading a text message and accidentally runs over another employee or drives into another vehicle or building, the employee could look down to read the text message. In addition to being very costly for employers, these accidents can also pose a risk to other employees as well.

Accidents involving automobiles

Depending on the position, employees may have access to a company vehicle. Employers should never take their employees’ privilege of using a company vehicle lightly as it leaves them vulnerable to liability should they text while driving. The use of a cell phone while driving has resulted in numerous auto accidents resulting in injuries, and employers are at risk of liability issues that may arise when an employee is injured because of distracted driving on company time.

Issues related to privacy

Mobile devices in the workplace often violate privacy rights, which is an issue that is often overlooked. Due to the capability of cell phones to take and send pictures to other phones and e-mail addresses, important business information and confidential operations are at risk.

It is possible for employees to unintentionally violate the privacy rights of another employee by sending them pictures of them or their property.

If this occurs, the employer may be liable for lawsuits or face other difficulties.

Be careful when you’re driving

It’s important to make sure your employees know they can’t make or receive calls while driving, whether they’re hand-held or hands-free. If there’s a passenger, they can answer or make calls on their behalf if they turn it off and make all calls go to voicemail. Make or receive a call while pulling over, stopping in a safe place, turning off the engine, and pulling over.

Remind them that they have a legal duty to comply; otherwise, disciplinary action could follow. This policy can lead to dismissal if they break it repeatedly.

In addition, make sure your workplace doesn’t encourage drivers to use their phones while driving, and challenge unsafe driving practices.

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