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Nearly 50 per cent of drivers admit to talking on the phone when behind the wheel, despite it being illegal for almost a decade. In fact, a survey conducted last month by Kwik Fit found that talking on the phone or texting during driving is the nation’s most despised habit.
The use of mobile phones in cars might seem like a recent law to some motorists but it is in fact a law which came into place almost ten years ago, yet almost half of motorists continue to make phone calls whilst driving.
Over the years, studies have proved that the risk of being in a crash that causes injury are increased by four times for those drivers who are on hand-held and hands-free mobile phones. In fact, reactions behind the wheel when on a mobile are 30 per cent slower than driving at the UK drink drive limit and 50 per cent slower than normal conditions.
Road safety charity Brake and Direct Line has recently produced a survey which found that three in ten drivers send or read texts whilst driving, and in recent years one in eight people are now resorting to using apps behind the wheel.
Brake is concerned that many drivers are unaware that the blanket ban on mobile use whilst driving also applies to using a hands-free mobile, which they believe is just as risky as using a hand-held device. According to the survey, almost one third of people didn’t realise that any type of phone use whilst driving is considered dangerous.
Findings of the survey continue to prove that drivers who perform complex secondary tasks at the wheel will increase their risk of crashing dramatically, with those with those speaking on phones, hands-free or hand-held, four times more likely to be in a crash that injures.
The charity claims that the effect of talking on a phone behind the wheel has been shown to be worse that drinking certain levels of alcohol due to driver reaction times becoming much slower.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: “It is shocking that, ten years after the ban, one in eight drivers continues to flout the law and put lives in danger by using a hand-held mobile at the wheel. Just as worrying is the widespread belief that using a hands-free kit is a safe alternative. Don’t kid yourself: it’s not.
“Using a hands-free phone while driving can end and ruin lives just as surely as using a phone hand-held, and no phone call or text is worth a life.”