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Old 15-05-2008, 3:34 PM
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Drivers know it’s illegal to use a mobile phone at the wheel but nearly two-thirds ag

Drivers know it’s illegal to use a mobile phone at the wheel but nearly two-thirds agree that the penalties are not harsh enough.
Jabra study reveals that 93% of road users are aware of updated driving legislation
15th May 2008: - Recent statistics from the Post Office prove that we are a nation of phone lovers, with 13 million of us scared to be without our mobile phone. Jokes about ‘nomophobes’(fear of being with ‘no mobile’) aside, the reality of this is that drivers are unlikely to leave their mobile phones at home, but thankfully Government messaging is getting through with a Jabra survey showing that the majority of drivers know that using a mobile phone at the wheel is dangerous, and breaking the law if not used in the correct manner.
The Jabra research, which surveyed over 2,000 consumers in the GB, shows that 93% of motorists are aware that using a handheld phone while at the wheel without a handsfree kit could now be treated as dangerous driving and carry a prison sentence of up to two years. Perhaps surprisingly 68% of GB motorists think that this penalty should be tougher, which would encourage drivers to stop using their handheld at the wheel. This is being driven by the fact that more than half of respondents had at one point or another felt endangered by phone addict drivers clearly holding their phones to their ear while driving.
We’ve all seen people using their handhelds in their cars, and celebrities like Ashley Cole and Jeremy Clarkson aren’t setting a good example either, reinforcing a disregard for the law in paparazzi snaps.* The survey showed that of those continuing to use their phone whilst driving, 25% state, ‘I am not likely to get caught’, and a further 24% cite that they just couldn’t miss a call.
If you add to this the fact that only 12% of respondents knew someone who had been caught by the police, and only 3% admitted that they’d ever been caught, it’s little wonder there’s an underlying feeling of the law’s inadequacy.
Government legislation tells us that the way to avoid risking a jail sentence if you do need to talk on the phone whilst driving is to do it safely and legally. The positive outcome of the survey is that 62% of drivers are doing just that, and do already own some sort of handsfree solution; with 20% of them saying that they’d considered buying a hands free kit to avoid going to prison. Despite this, 17% have actually stopped using their phone as a result of the new law.
”This survey highlights the fact that although the majority of the population know about the Driving Legislation, many feel harsher penalties are needed for those that continue to risk lives by ignoring the law. In today’s stressful and busy lifestyle the need to use the phone whilst driving is a reality and drivers must remember that if they have to use the phone, to do it handsfree.” commented Andrew Doyle, UK Sales Director, Jabra.
To avoid harsh criminal penalties, Jabra suggests the following these five simple steps:
1. Don’t talk unless it’s hands-free! - if you must use a mobile phone while driving, buy a hands-free product for your mobile phone - it’s not only safer and more comfortable but helps you stay within the law too.
2. Think ahead! – prepare for every journey by ensuring that your mobile phone is in its cradle and you are wearing a headset (if applicable) before you start driving so you are ready to answer any unexpected calls.
3. Keep it simple! – avoid having any difficult or emotional conversations while driving. Resist any temptation to make notes or read documents at the same time. If the call is urgent, explain that you are in the car and will call back when you have stopped safely.
4. The driving comes first, not the call! – don’t get engrossed in the conversation – think actively about things like indicating and looking over your shoulder even when they are second nature when you are not on the phone.
5. Adapt your phone! – activate the voicemail on your phone, so that when you are not in a safe situation to answer your phone, it will automatically divert to voicemail. If you are unhappy with the hands-free options products available for your phone then upgrade it. Voice-activated and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones would be the most suitable for in-car use.
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