Traffic minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen is launching a new campaign to discourage businesses from contacting staff by mobile phone while they are driving.
One in three businesses expect staff to respond to a message or call at all times, research by traffic safety organisation Veilig Verkeer and the association of car lease companies shows. The practice leads to people having to use a messenger service behind the wheel because, the research shows, in 35% of Dutch businesses staff are expected to react within half an hour.
Almost one in eight businesses thinks it is perfectly normal to send a Whatsapp message to people who travel by car for work. ‘This is very dangerous and totally irresponsible,’ Nieuwenhuizen told the Volkskrant. Only half of all businesses have rules for phone use behind the wheel, she said, and this needs to be increased.
Using messaging services while driving is banned by law and carries a €230 fine. But, the paper said, the fact that policing is difficult and the demands of the employer paramount makes it difficult to ignore the phone.
Half of the ten million people who have a phone in the Netherlands use it in traffic, the Volkskrant said. That has led to dozens of deaths and hundreds of injured people a year. Mobile phone use by cyclists has been banned since July and carries a €95 fine.
The slogan for the new campaign, which is part of a bigger drive to discourage mobile phone use in traffic, is ‘Drive MONO, ride MONO’, and promotes safer traffic conditions without the distraction of a phone or other devices. Companies can join the campaign by downloading free promotion material.
The minister said she hopes the slogan will be as successful as the Bob campaign, which encouraged the non-drinking driver in a group, to ‘be the Bob’.