Fleet News

Hands-free kits are not the solution

Drivers using their phones – whether handheld or hands-free – are risking two years in jail under rules published by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Despite this, a new survey suggests tens of thousands of company car drivers remain willing to risk imprisonment by taking a call while behind the wheel.

Earlier this year, the CPS updated its sentencing manual for dangerous driving.

It states that drivers convicted of dangerous driving now risk two years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both, as well as a mandatory driving disqualification.

“Usually a custodial penalty is appropriate, especially where a number of aggravating factors combine,” said the manual.

It lists among those aggravating factors: “Driving while the driver’s attention is avoidably distracted, for example by reading or by use of a mobile phone (especially if handheld).”

This clearly spells out that in the eyes of the law even using a Bluetooth hands-free phone while driving can lead to a charge of dangerous driving.

The manual also lists driving when knowingly deprived of adequate sleep or rest and driving a poorly maintained or dangerously loaded vehicle.

However, a survey of 5,000 company car drivers, commissioned by Alphabet, found that there is still a hardcore of company car drivers who will still take calls while driving.

The results suggest that three out of 10 drivers use their phones while driving, with a quarter of this group intending to carry on much as before despite the tougher sanctions.

Although 43% of the phone users said they would use a suitable hands-free accessory or fitting in future, 18% said they would continue to use a handheld phone “more carefully” while 8% would not change their behaviour at all.

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