Mobile Phones

Great. Yet another consultation on the use of mobile phones in cars. This one’s fairly obscure though. Took me ages to decipher this:

there is no justification for permitting exemptions from the requirement not to use hand-held phones.


Obscure language aside. The document is pretty clear about how it proposes prohibiting the use of mobile phones in cars. At this point it seems to make sense. Driving while dialling, sending a text message or holding one hand on a phone is going to obscure your attention to the road at some point, and is therefore a potential risk that could be easily removed (although arguably it’s already an enforced rule through the driving without due care claim).

However, the proposals include a general ban on personal hands-free phones, but not in-car hands-free. This is something I have a slight difficulty with. They blanket-ban all kits that are not “permanently wired into the vehicle” because they require pressing all sorts of buttons.

I drive quite a lot. I also get stuck in traffic a lot, and invariably get called quite a lot when I’m on the phone or need to make calls to advise people I’m going to be late, etc. A few months ago I went out of my way to buy a phone and a hands-free kit that specifically gave me the ability to dial out without any button-pressing. Behold the magic of voice dialling.

Speak ‘Abracadabra’ into my microphone (which, incidentally while I’m driving is always clipped in and positioned anyway), and I get a beep. Say the person’s name and it dials them. No buttons at all, I never look away from the road and my attention is where it should be. And this is worse than an in-car kit where it doesn’t explicitly say they won’t be pressing buttons?