03/12/2007

Hands-free phones will not make drivers safe

People wanting to avoid picking up three points for using a hand-held mobile
phone while driving should not be deceived into thinking hands-free kits are
safe to use at the wheel, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
(RoSPA) warned.

Advertisements from some companies have implied that by switching to hands-free
devices people can get around the stiffer penalties for using a hand-held phone.

Research has shown that driving using a mobile phone ­ whether hand-held or
hands-free ­ makes you four times more likely to crash.

Kevin Clinton, Head of Road Safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of
Accidents, said: "When motorists use any type of mobile phone they become
increasingly distracted by the telephone conversation and pay less and less
attention to their driving. They tailgate, wander about on the road and vary
their speed ­ all things which make them more likely to crash.

"But even though there is no specific offence relating to hands-free phones,
police can check telephone records in careless driving and dangerous driving
cases and use them as evidence to show someone has been distracted. It can lead
to tougher sentencing because using a mobile phone while driving is likely to
be viewed as an ‘aggravating circumstance' by the courts.

"It is wrong for anyone to suggest that using a hands-free phone while driving
is safe."

RoSPA would like employers to make it part of their health and safety policies
that using any type of mobile phone while driving on company business should be
a disciplinary offence. Guidance from the Health and Safety Executive makes it
clear that employers have a duty under health and safety law to manage the
risks faced by their employees on the road. And one of the biggest risks they
face is when using mobile phones while at the wheel.

RoSPA offers help to firms wanting to tackle issues surrounding work-related
road safety and its guidance documents on managing occupational road risk
include assistance with mobile phone policies.

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AplusA-online.de - Source: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents