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PCC backs Brake’s calls to ban dangerous hands-free phones

8th June 2016

It’s time to ban driving with hands-free mobile phones, say Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, as new research finds driving while talking on a hands-free phone can be just as distracting as talking on a hand-held mobile.

Commissioner Baird is backing renewed calls by Road Safety Charity Brake to ban hands free devices in light of findings published in the Transportation Research Journal today.

The research conducted by psychologists at the University of Sussex reveals that a conversation requiring a driver to use their visual imagination creates competition for the brain’s processing capacity that is also focussing on driving.

This results in drivers missing road hazards that they might otherwise have spotted.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, said: “Using the phone in the car is a significantly risky. The risk is not confined to holding a phone instead of having both hands free to drive, a greater hazard is, in ordinary  language, being distracted by the content of the call so that the driver’s focus on the road is weakened and concentration is lost. This research confirms scientifically what is also common sense to me.

“I fully support Brake’s call for a ban – drivers need to be completely focused on the road and what is going on around them. People will be put at risk otherwise. Suppose a driver takes a call with bad or exciting news, their mind is bound to be distracted so that they are not focussing on the complex and dangerous job of driving a car. Even a simple conversation requires focus for a response. This latest confirmation makes it time the Government took action to catch up with technology and protect public safety on the roads.”