The Government are considering preventing the use of hands-free phones while driving in an efforts to improve road safety and cut down accidents.
This was the message from the DfT at a recent debate which took place at Company Car in Action (CCIA).
Research has been conclusive in showing that using a hands-free phone while behind the wheel is more likely to lengthen reaction times and is potentially more dangerous than drink driving. A 2009 report by the ‘Transport Research Laboratory’ found that using a hands-free phone whilst driving can be more dangerous than drink driving.
The government banned the use of handheld phones in December 2003 however drivers have been free to use hands-free phones with no restrictions.
Chris Woodward, at the DfT, said “It’s certainly something that’s being considered, but no policy direction has been firmly set. The Government that formed in May of this year is looking afresh at how to address road safety issues.
Strategic direction is being discussed and developed currently, and the Government is looking at occupational road safety within its wider road safety review.”
Chris Woodward also said that he would welcome any opinions from fleet operators on what the Government and the DfT could do to help them improve road safety.
Original call to ban hands-free phones was over a year ago
Road safety charity Brake, have said they would welcome a ban on hands-free phones, because it would take away the onus from fleets. “At present, a complete ban on phone use is fleet safety best practice, but only a small number of fleets take that step, If the law changed to make it a legal requirement, all fleets would have to do it and it would take that responsibility away from the operator.”
Brake have found that the risk of being in a road accident that causes injury is increased four times for drivers on both had-held and hands-free devices. It is the conversation that is a distraction and when a driver is absorbed in conversation this can seriously affect their reaction times.
The government have only said they are considering putting restrictions on hands-free devices whilst driving at the moment and no policy directions have been set.