Van drivers still risking fine and penalty points by shunning handsfree technology

PA

Fewer than half of van drivers are using hands-free or Bluetooth technology when making a call behind the wheel, risking penalty points and a fine.

A survey has found that though the average van driver makes seven calls a day – averaging 37 minutes on the phone in total – just 41 per cent use handsfree technology on a frequent basis.

In addition, 17 per cent of drivers in the UK admitted to sending and receiving texts, checking emails or posting on social media while behind the wheel.

The survey of 1,000 van drivers, commissioned by Volkswagen Commercial, found that those in London, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North East are the most likely to use handsfree technology, while those in Scotland are twice as likely to shun the systems.

Claire English, head of fleet at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “Mobile phone use behind the wheel is a topic that we’ve been monitoring for the past couple of years and the recent statistics show it is still a huge safety problem on UK roads. Despite carrying a hefty punishment, it lacks the taboo of other offences such as drink-driving and this needs to change.

“As part of our Working With You promise, we’re committed to improving safety on UK roads for both our customers and other road users, always ensuring we provide the right equipment for the job, for example offering Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and a handsfree kit as standard across the range.”

It comes just three years after tougher laws were implemented in order to crack down on mobile phone use at the wheel. Since March 2017 drivers have faced a fine of £200 and six penalty points if caught, meaning that two offences are enough to have a driving licence revoked.