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Ban mobile phone hands-free kits, charity says

Road safety charity Brake has called to ban hands-free phones while behind the wheel. The charity has made the call to mark the beginning of Road Safety Week. The move comes 10 years since drivers were banned from using handheld phones while in the car. 

Brake has revealed that more than half a million UK drivers have points on their licence because of using their mobile phone whilst behind the wheel.

A study by the University of Utah found that 98 per cent of motorists are unable to multi-task without it affecting their concentration and performance. Meanwhile, Newcastle University research has shown the harder you have to concentrate on a task, the slower your reactions. Talking via a hands free system is still risky because concentrating on a conversation is a distraction. 

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said that while there are enormous benefits to the new technology which comes with a smartphone, “it’s also posing dangerous temptations to drivers to divert their concentration away from the critical task at hand.”

“Many people who wouldn’t dream of drink-driving are succumbing to using their phone and other distractions while driving, oblivious that the effect can be similar and the consequences just as horrific,” Townsend continued.

Townsend says Brake is calling on the government to increase fines for driving while distracted. 

Roads Minister Robert Goodwill has said he “welcomes” Brake’s Road Safety Week initiative “which helps raise awareness of the importance of road safety.”

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