Hands-free devices and kits for individuals using a mobile phone while driving have become increasingly commonplace over recent years, but new research published by road safety charity Brake has highlighted some shocking facts regarding this technology’s potential risks.
According to a new survey of UK motorists carried out by Brake and insurer Direct Line, while the proportion of drivers who say they would consider using a mobile phone while driving has now fallen to 45 per cent (54 per cent in 2006), there has been a widespread rise in hands-free device use.
Indeed, 38 per cent of respondents stated they now regularly use these devices when driving – up from 22 per cent – but serious concerns have been raised regarding the effect they can have on an individual’s concentration.
Brake cited research showing those who use a hands-free kit to talk on the phone while driving are four times more likely to be involved in an accident than those who keep both hands on the wheel and remain focused on the task of driving at all times.
Furthermore, reaction times for people talking on the phone were shown to be 50 per cent slower – highlighting a considerable risk to road safety.
As such, the organisation is calling for a blanket ban on the use of mobiles – either in-hand or through the use of hands-free kits – as a matter of urgency.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, said: “It is shocking that, ten years after the ban, one in eight drivers continues to flout the law and put lives in danger by using a hand-held mobile at the wheel. Just as worrying is the widespread belief that using a hands-free kit is a safe alternative.
“Don’t kid yourself: it’s not. Using a hands-free phone while driving can end and ruin lives just as surely as using a phone hand-held, and no phone call or text is worth a life.”
She added the government now needs to seriously consider its stance on the use of hands-free kits by drivers, as failing to take action could cause untold numbers of tragedies that could otherwise have been avoided.
Overall, Ms Townsend hopes that a hardline stance on this activity in the coming years will make the use of a mobile while driving as much of a social taboo as drink driving.
Young drivers up and down the country can sometimes struggle to adhere to the rules of the road as a result of their lack of experience.
However, ensuring both one’s own safety and that of passengers, other road users and members of the public by avoiding the use of mobile phones when behind the wheel is something all motorists (no matter their age) should look to remember.
The expert team at GSI Insurance Services (Southern) Limited pride themselves on helping this group to get the best deals when it comes to finding cover for their vehicle.
Insurance for young motorists can be expensive and therefore anyone looking to make savings on their annual car costs should get in touch sooner rather than later.