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Switching it Off…

So….all the employees of GE Capital Finance – a familiar name in the finance sector – have agreed to not to use their phones while driving.

And this is not just a promise not to use their handsets – something that is already illegal. This ‘driver declaration’ includes the use of speaker phones, installed hands free kits and even Bluetooth devices.

Instead employees will switch off their phones while driving and let their voicemails pick up messages they can respond to once they’ve parked.

John Jenkins, CEO, GE Capital in the UK, said:  “The safety of our employees and other road users is of utmost importance to us, which is why we want to limit the use of mobile phones while driving as much as possible. It is vital that all drivers remain focused on driving when they are behind the wheel and we hope that our actions assist our drivers in doing so.”

All very commendable and it is hard to argue with Mr Jenkins’ statement. But it is a shame that such measures are needed at all. While using a handset is behind the wheel is already becoming socially unacceptable, you don’t need an advanced driving certificate to realise that conducting a conversation with someone in a remote location over a hand-free kit is in itself pretty distracting – and potentially dangerous. Driving is already a highly multi-skilled task: none of us needs further demands on our concentration while we negotiate a motorway or navigate our way down a crowded high street.

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