, the road safety charity is renewing its call to ban hands-free kits, as its recent survey
reveals that almost half (45%) of drivers admit to chatting when
driving. While the use of hand-held phones by drivers has dropped,
hands-free use has risen, likely to be linked to the mistaken belief
that it is a safe alternative.
While the number of motorists who admit to talking on a hand-held phone when driving has dropped, hands-free use has risen by 16% in the last eight years.
Brake believes that the lack of a total ban
has left many drivers unaware that using a mobile hands-free at the
wheel is just as risky as using one hand-held.
It is the distraction of the conversation that causes the
danger. Studies have shown the risk of being in a crash that causes
injury is increased four times for drivers on both hand-held and
hands-free phones with reactions 30% slower than driving at the UK
drink drive limit, and 50% slower than under normal conditions.
Brake and Direct Line's survey also found that texting at the wheel
is a widespread menace, with 30% of all drivers admitting
sending or reading messages while driving, and an even higher proportion
of young drivers (age 18-24) doing so.
Brake's advice to motorists:
Using a phone and driving is a
deadly combination and no call or message is ever worth a life. Drivers
should put phones out of sight, earshot and reach when driving to avoid
temptation, ideally in the boot. On long journeys, take regular breaks and use these to check messages or make calls.
Hands-free is a not a safe option;
it's just as dangerous as using a mobile hand-held because of the mental
distraction of the call.
Everyone can make a difference by refusing to speak to someone on the
phone who's driving; politely but quickly end the call if they're at
the wheel – it could save their life.
Follow Brake on Twitter: @BrakeCharity
The Good Garage Scheme would like to thank the road safety charity, Brake, for its contribution to this week's blog. For more information about the work that Brake do and further results of the survey related to this article, please click here.