‘It is still a huge safety problem on UK roads’

Apr 03, 2020

FEWER than half of van drivers use hands free or Bluetooth technology while driving and continue to risk a £200 fine and six penalty for making calls on the go.

The average worker makes seven calls a day while driving and spends an average of 37 minutes on the phone for work each day. Yet only 41% use hands-free and Bluetooth technology on a frequent basis, according to a study by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

And 17% of drivers in the UK admit to sending and receiving texts, checking e-mails or posting on social media while driving, says the RAC. Last year, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles revealed 23% of drivers do not even have a hands free kit in their van.

The news comes three years after tougher laws were introduced to clamp down on mobile phone use behind the wheel. The legislation includes not only making calls, but also texting, taking selfies or posting on social media. Since March 2017, drivers have faced a fine of £200 and a six penalty points, meaning being caught twice is enough to get a licence revoked.

Claire English, head of fleet at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles – whose headquarters are at Blakelands  in Milton Keynes – said: “Mobile phone use behind the wheel is a topic that we’ve been monitoring for the past couple of years and the recent statistics show it is still a huge safety problem on UK roads.

“Despite carrying a hefty punishment, it lacks the taboo of other offences such as drink-driving and this needs to change.”

The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles research revealed van drivers in London, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North East are most likely to dial using the technology while Scottish van drivers are twice as likely to give hands free a miss compared to any other region.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles fits a Bluetooth hands-free kit as standard across its entire model range. Its vehicles also offer App Connect which allow access to certain apps on the move and include the facility to dictate and listen to text or WhatsApp messages without taking their eyes off the road.

Ms English said: “As part of our Working With You promise, we are committed to improving safety on UK roads for both our customers and other road users, always ensuring we provide the right equipment for the job.”

by ANDREW GIBBS e: news@businessmk.co.uk

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