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A recent study from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has shown that less than half of van drivers use handsfree or Bluetooth technology while driving, putting them at risk of a £200 fine and six penalty points for making calls on the go.
The latest research showed that the average worker makes seven calls a day while driving, spending an average of 37 minutes on the phone for work each day.
Despite this, only 41% frequently use hands free and Bluetooth technology. 23% of drivers don’t even have a handsfree kit in their van.
Even more worrying, it was found that 17% of drivers admit to sending and receiving texts, checking e-mails or posting on social media while driving.
The research also revealed van drivers in London, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North East are most likely to dial using the technology while Scottish van drivers are twice as likely to give handsfree a miss compared to any other region.
The news comes three years after tougher laws were introduced to clamp down on mobile phone use behind the wheel. The legislation includes not only making calls, but also texting, taking selfies or posting on social media. Since March 2017, drivers have faced a fine of £200 and a six penalty points, meaning being caught twice is enough to get a licence revoked.
Claire English, head of fleet at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, says: “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, including offering a handsfree kit as standard across the range.”
Last year, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles revealed that 23% of drivers don’t even have a handsfree kit in their van.