A study by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has found that fewer than half of van drivers use handsfree or Bluetooth technology while driving and instead risk a £200 fine and six penalty points for using their phones at the wheel.
The finding is made all the more shocking given that the average van driver makes seven calls a day while driving and spends an average of 37 minutes on the phone each working day.
The study found that just 41% of drivers use handsfree and Bluetooth technology on a frequent basis*.
In addition, 17 per cent of drivers in the UK admitted to sending and receiving texts, checking e-mails or posting on social media while driving**.
Last year, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles revealed 23 per cent of drivers don’t even have a handsfree kit in their van.
Claire English, Head of Fleet at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “Mobile phone use behind the wheel is a topic that we’ve been monitoring for the past couple of years and the recent statistics show it is still a huge safety problem on UK roads. Despite carrying a hefty punishment, it lacks the taboo of other offences such as drink-driving and this needs to change.
“As part of our Working With You promise, we’re committed to improving safety on UK roads for both our customers and other road users, always ensuring we provide the right equipment for the job, for example offering Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and a handsfree kit as standard across the range.”
* Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles survey, December 2019, 1,000 UK van drivers
** RAC Report on Motoring 2019