More than half of Britain’s van drivers admit to using their mobile phone behind the wheel without using a hands-free device. This is according to research conducted by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
The study found that van drivers spend an average of 35 minutes on the phone every day, making an average of seven calls a day.
However, around a quarter (23 percent) of the 500 drivers surveyed admitted their vans are not hands-free enabled, with a third of drivers (33 percent) saying they have the technology but don’t always use it.
Only a quarter (27 percent) said that their van is fitted with hands-free technology and they always use it to make a call while driving.
Risking their livelihood
Tougher penalties came into force in March 2017, with motorists caught using a phone while driving receiving a £200 fine and six points on their licence – up from the previous £100 penalty and three points.
Motorists caught using their mobile phone twice or accruing 12 points on their licence risk losing their licence and a fine of up to £1,000 (or £2,500 for lorry drivers). For van drivers, this could ultimately mean the loss of their livelihood.
At the time, transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Our message is simple and clear: do not get distracted by your mobile phone while driving. It may seem innocent, but holding and using your phone at the wheel risks serious injury and even death to yourself and other road users.”
Working With You
Volkswagen Commerical Vehicles offers a Bluetooth hands-free kit as standard across its entire model range, while its vans are also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Sarah Cox, head of marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “Our figures show that many van drivers don’t have or aren’t using a Bluetooth hands-free kit behind the wheel – risking not only a fine and potential ban, which would damage business, but, more seriously, a potentially fatal accident.
“As part of our Working With You promise we ensure all our customers have the right accessories and equipment to make their jobs as easy and safe as possible, whether that’s offering flexible van servicing or something as simple as a hands-free kit as standard.”