FEWER than half of van drivers use hands free or Bluetooth technology while driving and are continuing to risk a £200 fine and six penalty for making calls on the go.
A study by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has found that 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, just 41% use hands free and Bluetooth on a frequent basis.
It’s not just making calls, either, with 17% of drivers in the UK admitting to sending and receiving texts, checking e-mails or posting on social media while driving.
Last year, VW Commercial Vehicles revealed 23% of drivers don’t even have a handsfree kit in their van.
VW fits a Bluetooth hands-free kit as standard across its entire van model range and the 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.
The VW Commercial Vehicles research 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 hands free a miss compared to any other region.
Tougher laws were introduced three years ago 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.”