Fleet News

Use of in-car info screens breaches new Code

DRIVERS who use mobile telephones or 'adjust, operate or view' in-car traffic information screens while on the move will be in breach of the Highway Code under new provisions outlined this week. The revised version of the Code - the first changes since 1993 - is designed to reflect road safety concerns and traffic conditions and practices.

New rules governing the use of mobile telephones by drivers while on the move follows recent safety concerns, highlighted in Fleet News, and at least two high-profile court cases in which pedestrians have been involved in collision with cars while their drivers have been on the phone. The changes, if incorporated in the new Code, are regarded as a 'last chance' ahead of legislation which would ban drivers from using mobile phones while on the move.

The existing Code's advice on the use of mobile phones tells drivers 'you must exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. Do not use a hand-held telephone or microphone while you are driving. Do not speak into a hands-free microphone if it will take your mind off the road'.

The proposed change would see the Code saying 'using a hand-held mobile phone or microphone when driving can be very dangerous and means you are not in control of your vehicle. You must exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. Using hands-free equipment is also likely to distract your attention from the road, and it is far safer not to use any telephone when you are driving.'

On in-car navigation aids the new Code proposes 'do not operate, adjust or view an in-vehicle driver information screen if it will take your eyes off the road'. Such advice is at odds with current motor industry moves which sees in-car navigation aids being fitted or available as options on a wide range of vehicles in a bid to cut traffic congestion.

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