I was out again on my bicycle on a bit of a training ride south of Fremantle on Tuesday June 11, 2013. All up a rather bland ride, road safety wise, which is something I really appreciate. That said I did see a Gronbek Security employee not being too smart, using his mobile phone while undertaking a right turn through an intersection.
As a vulnerable road user I have had my fair share of scary experiences with motorists distracted through their use of mobile phones. The distraction levels are considered such a risk that the use of mobile phones in the manner observed is considered an offence under the Western Australian Road Traffic Code 2000, regulation 265. An offence which I believe carries a fine of five penalty points, i.e., $250 and the loss of three demerits.
Update – June 12, 2013: Mr Geoff Gronbek of Gronbek Securities has responded to my email with the following response.
I appreciate your concern for people driving whilst using one hand to operate a mobile phone.
Gronbek Security has always and always will promote and support safe driving practices, and all our mobile employees has been instructed only to use mobile phones when connected to a hands free device.
I will speak to the employee concerned and I agree with you that it is not the greatest way to advertise our business name.
This incident was observed at the corner of Spearwood Avenue and Cockburn Road, Spearwood at 8:20 AM on Tuesday July 11, 2013 and as this particular Gronbek Security employee’s driving didn’t directly impact on myself I have decided in this instance to give Gronbek Security an opportunity to reflect on their employee’s practices and their own attitude to road safety.
I have sent them the following email and
will give them five days to respond appropriately before taking this matter further. Hopefully this heads-up will be enough to make the employee engage his brain and Gronbek Security to reflect on its duty of care to all members of the community, more so vulnerable road users. As Mr Geoff Gronbek has replied to my email and as this incident did not directly impact on myself I am considering Mr Gronbek’s response as sufficient and I have closed this matter. I just hope that the employee and Gronbek Security now have a better awareness of road safety.
Dear Gronbek Security
One of your employes was observed at 8:20 AM on the morning of Tuesday June 11, 2013 driving a GronBek Security vehicle through the intersection of Spearwood Avenue and Cockburn Road, Spearwood. Said employee clearly felt that he could best represent Gronbek Security and engage in “safe driving practices” by (a) using one hand to steer the vehicle and (b) using his other hand to control the use of his mobile phone which was “attached” to his right ear.
Now said employee may consider his highly skilled at doing this, however, the research shows otherwise and for very obvious reasons the use of mobile phones whilst driving in this manner is an offence under the Western Australian Road Traffic Code 2000 regulation 265. Furthermore such practices do raise questions about safe working practices at Gronbek Security which may be of interest to Worksafe Western Australia.
Furthermore as a vulnerable road user, a cyclist, I really don’t appreciate irresponsible behaviour having more than once been put at risk of serious injury or worse by such driving practices.
At this point of time I have not taken further action on what was observed as I feel it is appropriate to allow you to explain what steps you are going to take to ensure your employees engage in the company business in a safe manner from this point forward. I feel that five working days is sufficient time to allow you do this. Should you feel that you don’t need to do this, I am happy to formally raise my concerns with the South Metropolitan Traffic Division of the Western Australia Police and Worksafe Australia.
For your information and review you can find the video recorded from my front mounted bicycle camera of the incident on YouTube at http://youtu.be/g_pI8xHLbIQ.