A phone call or your life? – Choose LIFE and let it ring – Road Safety Campaign message!

Postal, Health & Safety

“No phone call is more important than your life, or the lives of other road users,” insists CWU health, safety and environment officer Dave Joyce as the union and Royal Mail prepare for the company’s August Road Safety Campaign.

With a fleet of 49,000 vehicles on the road, this is the biggest operating fleet in Europe and during the company’s road safety campaigns, Royal Mail joins forces with the union, with area safety reps and unit managers focusing on a particular aspect of road safety.

This initiative is about drumming home the message that using mobile phones while driving is dangerous, illegal and a risk to your job.


  • Latest statistics from the Department of Transport indicate that drivers talking on the phone are four times more likely to be in a crash that causes injury, even if using hands-free devices.
  • Distracted drivers have 35 per cent slower reaction times and poorer lane control.
  • Drivers reading and sending text messages are 23 times more likely to crash than an attentive driver.
  • Over the past year, there have been 83 cases where drivers were involved in a fatal accident related to using their mobile or being distracted while driving.
  • A further 459 drivers were involved in a serious road traffic crash related to mobile phone use and distractions while driving.

 Against the law:

  • It’s an offence to use a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving a motor vehicle under current UK law. Under the law, ‘driving’ includes being stationary if the engine is running, including in traffic queues and at traffic lights.
  • This offence carries a fine of up to £1,000 and six penalty points, a fine which can rise to £2,500 if you are driving a heavy goods vehicle.
  • Drivers can be prosecuted for using their hand-held phone for any telecommunication purpose, not just making or receiving calls.
  • Even if a driver is using a hands-free mobile phone device, they may still be prosecuted if the police consider the driver is being distracted and that it has affected their standard of driving.

A risk to your job:

  • Under Royal Mail’s own driving rules, all mobile phone use while driving including hands-free is strictly forbidden.
  • Royal Mail Group policy prohibits the use of mobile phones, PDAs or any other device including hands free that may cause distraction whilst driving on behalf of Royal Mail Group.
  • This rule applies across the whole Royal Mail Group and therefore includes Parcelforce, RMSS, RMP&FS, RME and Fleet.

Dave Joyce says: “If you’re driving and your phone rings, then ignore it and let it ring. If your text alert sounds, ignore it. No phone call or text message is more important than your life, your safety, or the lives and the safety of other road users.

“No phone call or text message is worth breaking the law and risking the possible loss of your licence, or a big fine.

“And no phone call or text message is worth risking disciplinary action at work.”

Next week, campaign posters will be going up at Royal Mail workplaces all over the UK featuring this message and the subject will also be featured in WTLL sessions.

“If your phone rings, or a text alert sounds, ignore it – you can pull over when you’re able to do so safely, park safely, turn off your engine and then check your calls and messages,” Dave advises.

“But while you’re driving, just let that phone ring, make the choice to ignore it, choose your life, choose your safety, choose your job.”