* Mobile phones and cars don't mix * UK drivers are not getting the message * We investigate scale of the problem...
A hands-free phone kit is a cheap, legal and much safer way to make or receive calls while driving, but using one can still be dangerous.
A study by TRL showed that the reaction times of drivers using hands-free equipment were a third slower than those of drink-drivers, and that responses were still sluggish for up to 10 minutes after finishing the call.
What's the difference between using a hands-free kit and chatting to a passenger, then? Well, any conversation will distract you to some extent, but a passenger is usually aware of road conditions, so will know to stop talking during dangerous parts of a journey.
Bluetooth hands-free sets cost very little and make calling from your car much saferMake sure that any hands-free calls are made as safely as possible (so not when pulling out of a busy junction, for example), and keep things brief and simple.
The police are still able to prosecute you for a 'careless driving' offence, such as 'driving without due care and attention', if they believe your concentration is being diverted from the road even if you aren't actually holding the phone.