With the use of mobile phones while driving banned and the use of hands-free phones under continued scrutiny, the message is clear: anything that distracts the driver from the job at hand is dangerous.
However, figures from an AA/Populus survey revealed that nearly one in five (19%) employees say that their employer is not actively encouraging the safe and legal use of mobile phones while driving for work, with more than one in 20 (7%) feeling under pressure to answer their hand-held work mobile when driving for work or commuting (click here for full story).
Research by the University of Utah (click here for full story) found drivers using hands-free mobile phones took 20% longer to hit the brakes than those not on the phone, following distances increased by 30% as drivers failed to keep pace with traffic and memory performance declined by 11%.
Our Passat Highline is one of many cars which comes with Bluetooth technology which connects a phone to the car's media system, allowing you to access your phonebook and make and accept calls at the touch of a button.
The Volkswagen system, however, is not as intuitive as it might be which adds to the distraction time if the driver is making calls on the move.
It is controlled by a six touchscreen icons with no clear instruction as to what they do.
It's difficult to tell what they are for at a glance, and only by pressing the icons is it apparent what they do.
This means the driver has to take his eyes off the road, which is not conducive to road safety.
Perhaps some simpler labelling of the functions would have been a better design.