UK Employers To Get Blamed For Workers' Driving While Yakking

from the misplaced-blame dept

We’ve heard of stories in the past about companies getting blamed for accidents caused by an employee who was talking on the phone for work purposes — with the victims in such accidents sometimes going so far as to sue the companies, claiming they were liable for the damage done. It looks like officials in the UK want to step that up a notch — and will begin a pilot program of blaming companies any time their employees are caught driving while yakking. From the article (and perhaps it’s misleading), it doesn’t sound like this is only limited to cases where the employee was doing work-related business on the phone or where the driving while yakking was company mandated. Instead, it sounds as though a driving while yakking offense may be followed up by a uniformed officer showing up at your place of business to have a little chat with your boss — demanding he or she explain how they intend to curb driving while yakking (it’s unclear what they do if it was the boss who was doing the driving while yakking). Companies may receive “improvement notices” and if the situation doesn’t improve (i.e., someone gets caught again), the company may be fined. Obviously, the goal here is to put pressure on companies to get their employees not to talk on the phone while driving, but, if it’s not concerning work-related matters, it’s hard to see why the company should have a say in what people do on their own time in their own cars. Of course, on the flip side, perhaps the program is designed more to scare people out of driving while yakking, to keep a cop from showing up at your office to talk to the boss.

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Comments on “UK Employers To Get Blamed For Workers' Driving While Yakking”

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Tom Marshall says:

Bring it on – I’ve lost count of the number of times I see drivers of “company” vehicles (i.e. those with the name of the company painted on the side) driving along oblivious to the world outside whilst yakking away on the phone is incredible. It’s been illegal for a long time now – it’s dangerous, stupid and irresponsible.

When someone is driving a vehicle for their employment, it is the employers responsibility to make sure that the driver does so safely.

C Williams says:

UK Employers To Get Blamed For Workers' Driving Wh

Where have you people been? I have been out of the UK for 2 years now and this was law at least 3 years ago. It’s illegal to talk on a phone whilst driving in the UK. If you are driving a company vehicle at the time, the company gets the ticket. This is old news. I just wish it would catch on in the US.

Just Me says:

This is doesn’t sound right. While I agree that if a driver is caught talking on the phone whilst driving should be punished, I don’t think that it is a good policy to blame someone else for it, in this case the employer.

Yes, in some cases, the driver might be answering the phone in work related areas, still I believe that it is the responsibility of the driver to make a decision whether they should or shouldn’t answer the phone whilst driving a car on the road.

discojohnson says:

Re: Re:

still I believe that it is the responsibility of the driver to make a decision whether they should or shouldn’t answer the phone whilst driving a car on the road

ding ding ding! personal responsibility. now to get the rest of lazy humanity to buy in to it. there’s more freedoms that come with it, like if you don’t want to wear a seatbelt, fine: but your health insurance won’t cover your bill (that’s how tricare (military insurance) works) if you screw up.

Anonymous of Course says:

Re: Re: Re:

Hush now… if personal responsibility became popular

what would the thriving industries that profit from

the culture of victimization do? How would governments

justify their ever increasing budgets and creeping

infringements on personal rights?

People should be held responsible for their acts. Otherwise

they are /just following orders/ and that’s a bad path

to follow.

Ben Robinson says:

First of all this only applies if the driver is on work related business. If they are caught and they are just driving to the local supermmarket to pick up some shopping it is nothing to do with the employer. Secondly the point of this law is to protect employees from being presured to answer the phone whilst driving. The protection for the company is easy, all they have to do is put in place and enforce a policy that forbids employees to answer the phone if they are driving and are on company business at the time. If they do this then their arse are covered.

Anonymous of Course says:

Re: Re:

I see how this law could be helpful in inducing

companies to adopt a no yakking while driving

policy. I guess the police would then expect

the company to punish the employee when it

was reported that the policy has been violated.

It’s a rather convoluted, big-brother way to go

about it though.

Better the employee refuses to violate the law

when asked to do so by the employer. That goes

for speeding to meet some schedule, dumping

waste down a storm drain and myriad other possible


Trying to coerce an employee to break the law

is against the law but that would be more difficult

to prove I suppose.

Overall I think encouraging people to be responsible

for their own actions has a more beneficial effect

on society as a whole.

WirelessGuy says:

Its all about the money baby

Why go after a driver, whose personal insurance company might be able to pay for damages, when you can go after a company who has lots of money. You never see Bob’s Diner getting sued for Hot Coffee, it is McD’s. You never see people going after some blog poster for allowing content to affect lives of kids, it is MySpace. People, lets all wake up and realize that as soon as people realize that they can go after someone with money for something, then they will. It is like these patent trolls waiting for some obscure patent on making toast they aquired to sue that company which makes money on selling toast.

But do people really want this level of responsibility placed on third parties? Will they then go after the phone company for allowing someone to talk while driving? Should we place devices triggered by GPS if there is movement then we shouldn’t allow the phone to work? Do we then ban radios from cars, drive thru windows, and mirrors on the visor so women can’t do makeup?

The only way to ever prevent accidents is to ban cars. But that is going to happen by the oil industry as gas keeps going up.

Chris Rock said it best, if you want to stop crime with guns, don’t ban the guns, just make bullets $10,000 each.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yakking- The way around it

Maybe I should just claim I’m an eastern European immigrant, and that the law doesn’t apply to me…. Maybe if I do that, I’ll also get a free house, a job, and a home for my 99 relatives, with food and all utility bills paid for by the government, or poor sods that have been caught on the phone while driving….

Britain – a fine country – there’s a fin for EVERYTHING (unless you’re an immigrant)

Marc says:

I’d like to reiterate that this is nothing new. It’s not only illegal (and downright stupid) for the driver to talk on the phone, it’s illegal to _cause_ someone to talk on the phone while driving – ie, telling your driver they have to answer the phone even though it’s illegal – and then calling them. It’s been like this for years…. AND NOT MADE A DAMN OF A DIFFERENCE 🙁

Steven Wojciechowski (user link) says:

Other way around

I believe this isn’t so much targetting the individuals but is designed to help stop companies putting pressure on their staff to always contactable and allow for times when it is not practical to answer the phone


I’ve know friends and co-workers that have got into trouble at work for not immediately answering their work mobile phone (whether on call, or just working outside of the office) – generally the reason was that they didn’t answer because they were driving… however when under fear of getting into trouble with the boss people are more inclined to do the wrong thing and use the phone while driving.

pam takhar says:

Yanking while driving

i totally disagree using mobile phone while drivng, this is a very dangoues to other road users, because the driver will loose consutration.,lifes have been ruied, i am doing a servey on this i need all the surport i need everbody attention on my project which is to make our roads safer and Yanking while driving should be stopped.

I am giong to set up my oen business in catching these careless people who r making life difficult for younges and eldly to cross the road with thinking r they gona be knocked down,

do u want something done about this, yes so do i
so lets all tell evertbody out to e mail me back iso i can use this as evidence and make my ideas stronger so can get help and lets punish those need reminding
a miss call wont hurt you.

plz reply back

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