April 9, 2020

Van drivers risk fine and penalty points by not using handsfree technology

Less than half of van drivers use handsfree or Bluetooth technology while driving, according to a study by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

Despite the average worker making seven calls a day while driving and spending an average of 37 minutes on the phone for work each day, the study found that just 41 per cent use handsfree and Bluetooth technology on a frequent basis.

It’s not just making calls, either, with 17 per cent of drivers in the UK admitting to sending and receiving texts, checking e-mails or posting on social media while driving. Last year, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles revealed 23 per cent of drivers don’t even have a handsfree kit in their van.

To help, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles fits a Bluetooth hands-free kit as standard across its entire model range. The brand’s vehicles also offer App Connect (wireless on the recently launched Transporter 6.1) which allows access to certain apps on the move and includes the facility to dictate and listen to text or WhatsApp messages without taking their eyes off the road.

The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles research revealed van drivers in London, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North East are most likely to use handsfree technology while Scottish van drivers are twice as likely not to 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, 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.”