Brake Calls For A Ban On Hands-Free Kits

Using Hands-Free "Is Just As Risky" As Using A Handset


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

A huge number of motorists in the UK are putting themselves and others at risk by making phone calls while driving.

This is according to road safety charity Brake, which has conducted a study alongside Direct Line that showed 32 per cent of people don't realise that using any form of communications device while behind the wheel is dangerous.

The research also confirmed that 45 per cent of drivers admit to using a phone while they are moving along. Although the use of handheld phones has dropped from 36 per cent of the public to just 13 per cent since 2006, there has been a sharp increase in the use of hands-free kits over the same period.

Indeed, 38 per cent of motorists utilise one of these systems to make a call - up from 22 per cent in 2006.

Brake insisted that just because hands-free kits are not prohibited in the UK, that doesn't mean they are not dangerous. The charity highlighted figures that showed drivers are four-times more likely to crash if they are using a handheld or hands-free device to have a conversation while behind the wheel.

The report also found that texting while driving is a "widespread menace", as 30 per cent of motorists said they have either sent or read an SMS while they are travelling along.

While official figures indicate that accident rates are falling across the UK, Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend insisted there is a "shocking" number of people who are still flouting laws related to using mobiles while driving.

"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 commented.

"The government needs to act now to stop this risky behaviour."

Meanwhile, Rob Miles, director of motor at Direct Line, added that many people will be surprised to learn that using a hands-free kit is actually more dangerous than driving at the UK's drink-drive limit. Statistics show the reactions of people who are having a conversation are 30 per cent slower than somebody who has consumed a certain amount of alcohol.

Expert Opinion
Collisions on the road whether with other vehicles or pedestrians can have life-changing consequences for all involved. Every day we help to support victims of incidents on the roads with their recovery and rehabilitation.

“The statistics show that using phones, even with hands-free kits, is extremely distracting and that one split second of not concentrating could mean the difference between life or death.

“All road users need to take responsibility for their actions and realise the devastation that can be caused by road accidents. Some people defend their actions by believing it won’t happen to them, but there are no guarantees and it is safer to not take the risk."
Stephen Nye, Partner