Van drivers urged to be safe and use hands-free technology

Written by: Simon Pavey, Last updated:7th September 2021

Fleet drivers have been urged to put safety first after a poll showed a worryingly high number are still using mobile phones behind the wheel.

The survey, carried out by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VCV), found the average worker makes seven calls a day while driving and typically spends 37 minutes on the phone.

Less than half use hands-free

However, just 41 per cent reported using hands-free or Bluetooth technology on a frequent basis to make the calls safely.

Furthermore, 17 per cent of those polled admitted they also send texts, check their emails or post on social media while driving, providing additional and perhaps even more dangerous distractions.

Van drivers in London and Yorkshire and the Humber were most likely to use hands-free technology to make and receive calls. Those in Scotland were twice as likely as any other region to pick up their phone during a journey.

“Mobile phone use behind the wheel is a topic that we’ve been monitoring for the past couple of years… 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,” said VCV’s Claire English.

Since March 2017, any motorist caught using their phone while driving faces an on-the-spot fine of £200 and six points on their driving licence.

However, with a poll by Driving for Better Business recently finding 49 per cent of business leaders expect their employees to answer their phones at all times, the message may not be getting through to fleet owners sufficiently.

Ellie Baker, Brand Manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “With so much technology available for those who must be available to contact at all times, there really is no excuse for these shocking new figures. No conversation is worth risking someone’s life over, so put that phone out of reach if you haven’t got hands-free.”

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