Call to ban hands-free phones

Parrot MKi9200 hands-free kit
Credits: Nick Osy
18 Nov, 2013 12:22pm Claire Holden

Road safety charity Brake has called to ban hands-free phones while behind the wheel

Motorists should be banned from using hands-free phones while behind the wheel, as well as handheld phones, according to road safety charity Brake.

The charity has made the call to mark the beginning of Road Safety Week, and ten years since drivers were banned from using handheld phones while in the car - since then, many of us have been using a hands-free kit to talk on our phones in the car.

Brake also said that a Freedom of Information request revealed that more than half a million UK drivers have points on their licence for using their mobile phone at the wheel or being otherwise distracted.

Distractions reduce hazard perception and increase reaction times, making drivers much more likely to cause deaths and serious injuries. A study by the University of Utah found that 98 per cent of motorists are unable to multi-task without it affecting their performance.

Meanwhile, Newcastle University research has shown the harder you have to concentrate on a task, such as dealing with work-related calls, the slower your reactions. Talking on hands-free is just as risky as on a hand-held phone because concentrating on the conversation is the main distraction.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said that it as more and more people have smartphones, they find it harder 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.

“We are also 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."

Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said: “I welcome Brake’s Road Safety Week initiative which helps raise awareness of the importance of road safety.”

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How long before they try to ban passengers in cars due to the distraction of actually being able to speak to another human being??

Best ban Radios too!

What does need to be made illegal is the use of HEADPHONES whilst driving. I see drivers with headphones in and it angers me. Yes, some might say the same for listening to music in the car but it's not directed straight to your ear-canal like a headphone set, blocking out all other noise.

Theres no difference between talking on the phone (handsfree) and talking to a passenger or singing along to a song on the radio.
Why not just ban cars altogether and be done with it.

Brake really are moron's! They've just come out with this to get themselves in the news and any news outlets that gives these narrow minded simpletons coverage are playing into their hands. They are better off ignored!! Let the police & goverment worry about enforcing/bringing in new laws.

Surely it's got to be more dangerous to smoke a cigarette while driving then anything else these self appointed nannies dream up.

Who cares, you can do anything you like in your car if you have tinted windows :)

Absolutely ridiculous.

While I do try to keep my hands free calls to a minimum, that's because I prioritise driving and struggle to hold a decent conversation when driving.

Some calls are important and some people have to drive for long periods and changing the laws would make these people unreachable.

Don't tar everyone with the same brush, some people use their hands free for important calls only. We don't need more petty laws.

since the introduction of handheld mobile phone ban and then subsequent new offence off middle lane hogging, I've seen more of both. How about bringing extra road traffic police and getting rid of highly paid police commissioners, so someone is there to ensure that we all stick to the rules

Human nature for sinners to wax indignant when justifying their sins!

People who get angry behind the wheel are the most dangerous.How about the emergency services, they use phones, should we ban them as well.

You can only have tinted windows at the back of the car. It is illegal to tint the front.

I agree. You cannot drink or eat at the wheel so why should smoking be any different.

There is a major difference. A passenger can see the hazards on the road and therefore knows when to keep quiet.

Obviously a back seat driver!!

As the police do practically nothing about use of hand-held phones, what on earth does anyone think they're going to do about phones they can't even see you using.

And the driver has a brain and can apply its use accordingly. More ninnyism to fleece more funds from the herd.

Yep, they'll never be happy until the man with the red flag is brought back. Having said that, people on phones are irritating simply because they drive so slowly. I've seen people tootling along the motorway at 40 because they're having a natter. Bloody infuriating.

I lose hours of the day due to traffic jams. There wouldn't be any reason at all for me to make a phone call whilst driving but when you spend your time stuck in a que doing nothing you need to catch up on the day due to the governments neglect.

Absolute and total rubbish Alexander.

Having children in the car, or worse still, my Grandfather's elderly 'lady friend' is considerably less safe than me talking hands-free. Neither the children or the girlfriend A) Can drive or b) Can interpret situations. Based on this, perhaps we should ban talking in cars or perhaps make families with more than one child travel separately...

It's not a sin though if it is currently legal....