Charity calls for hands-free phone tech ban in cars

More than half a million UK drivers have points on their licence for using a phone
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More than half a million UK drivers have points on their licence for using a phone

Road safety charity Brake is urging the Government to ban in-car hands-free kits for mobile phones and similar tech.

It's part of the charity's Road Safety Week which aims to make drivers more safety-conscious by turning off their phones, putting them in the boot and urges everyone to refuse to speak on the phone to someone who is driving.

The use of mobile phones while driving has already been an offence for ten years now, but Brake's new calls hope to see hands-free Bluetooth kits banned, too.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, commented: “We are calling on government to do more to tackle driver distraction, by extending the ban to hands-free phones at the wheel, and further upping fines for the potentially deadly offence of driving distracted.

“We’re living in an age when being constantly connected is the norm; more and more of us have smartphones, and find it hard to switch off, even for a minute. While there are enormous benefits to this new technology, it’s also posing dangerous temptations to drivers to divert their concentration away from the critical task at hand, often putting our most vulnerable road users in danger.

"Many people who wouldn't dream of drink-driving are succumbing to using their phone and other distractions while driving, oblivious that the effect can be similar and the consequences just as horrific."

However, the Government said it was not looking at banning hands-free kits, reports BBC.

Drivers currently caught using a handheld phone at the wheel to call or text face a fixed penalty notice of £100 and three points on their licence, or they may be offered a course instead of taking the points.

In some cases drivers may go to court, facing disqualification and maximum fine of £1,000, while motorists who cause a crash and kill someone while using a phone could face up to 14 years in prison.

More than half a million UK drivers (575,000) have points on their licence for using their mobile phone at the wheel or being otherwise distracted. 

Brake's campaign is being supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers, which is coordinating a week-long campaign of heightened police enforcement across the country targeting drivers on mobile phones.

Image source: Woman talking in car using a headset (Shutterstock)