Although most of us are aware of the dangers of using our phones whilst driving, a recent report by the RAC has found that a record number of people are doing just that, endangering both themselves and others.
The RAC report found that in the last year, 1 in 3 of those surveyed admitted to taking calls whilst driving, and 14% have even taken photos or videos! That number is getting bigger each year, whilst the number of prosecutions for the offence is falling.
In order to tackle this problem, the government has recently announced that the penalties for using your phone whilst driving will increase from three to six points on your licence, alongside a fine of £200. Two offences will result in a court visit, a fine of £1,000, and a six month driving ban. New drivers will have their licence revoked and will have to re-take their theory and practical driving tests. This will come into force in 2017 in England, Wales and Scotland.
The offence doesn’t just cover taking a call whilst driving; typing a text or even checking social media whilst in stationary traffic is all illegal. The distraction caused by phones has been responsible for a growing number of fatal road accidents in the last few years.
We want everyone to stay safe on the roads – motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. If you’re worried about missing important phone calls then the best way to ensure you keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel is to use a hands free system.
There are a few ways to pick up your calls whilst staying focused on the road:
Bluetooth Car Kits
A Bluetooth car kit is a relatively inexpensive piece of tech that usually consists of either an earpiece or a speaker that wirelessly connects to your phone. When you receive a call, the caller’s voice plays through your headphone or speaker and you can have a conversation without picking up your phone at any point. You can find out more about Bluetooth in our Advice Centre.
Many DAB car stereos now feature Bluetooth, and this works in a similar way to car kits; the stereo connects to your phone wirelessly and the caller’s voice is played through the speakers. A DAB radio is ideal if you’re also looking to stream music from your phone to your car’s speaker system, as well as providing crisper radio reception and more stations to choose from. You can read more about DAB stereos in our Advice Centre article.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are complete in-car entertainment systems for Apple and Android phones. These don’t use Bluetooth but go one better than DAB radios with the ability to read out your text messages, as well as being able to transcribe and send a reply that you dictate. You can read more about what these systems are capable of over at our Advice Centre.