How would you feel if you were sacked from your job – because you took a hands-free phone call in a company vehicle?

Safety experts are now stressing how dangerous various gadgets and devices can be as distractions for drivers in their vehicles. Even hands-free phones are coming under scrutiny.

Bosses at the international construction company, Balfour Beatty have reacted to the growing risks of driver distraction by imposing a blanket ‘no call’ rule. They are saying that any staff member on company business must “never use a phone of any type while operating a vehicle”. Anyone who doesn’t uphold this ‘Global Safety Principle’ will be sacked.

The company has 18,000 drivers in the UK, and double that number worldwide. John Dunne, Group Head of Health and Safety told us: “Even using a phone on hands-free can be a distraction. In terms of safety, it’s the equivalent of driving over the limit. We’re trying to send a clear message.” He said Balfour Beatty would now analyse call records after any accident in company vehicles.

Mobile phones, satnavs and dashboard gadgets are being blamed for an increase in road accidents. Researchers found that one-in-five drivers have spotted another motorist taking a picture while driving and more than a quarter confessed they had sent a text or email while driving.

There are so many gadgets in cars that can cause distractions while driving. There are many ways that you can try to avoid getting distracted while driving, so we’ve put together a few ideas to help you:

• Put your mobile phone onto a call forwarding setting, turn it on silent or hide it away in a glove compartment or bag

• Enter your destination into your satnav before you set off, not on the move

• If you are drowsy, pull off the road to a service station and have a nap – a coffee or winding down the window will not stop you falling asleep

• Try to limit the number of passengers in your vehicle, as well as the level of activity inside the car (such as tablets, screens and mobile devices)

• Avoid eating while driving

• Prepare ahead; send all emails, texts and make all phone calls necessary before your journey

Remember that getting distracted and using mobile phones can cause accidents, so stay safe and plan ahead for your journey so that you can leave the technology alone while you’re on the road.