Mo­bile phone firm scraps ad­vert

● Voda­fone ad­mits on­line com­mer­cial con­flicts with its ad­vice to staff and cus­tomers not to talk on the phone at the wheel

The Scotsman - - News Digest -

own staff and cus­tomers not to make phone calls at the wheel. How­ever, it said it was un­able to pro­vide a copy of the ad­vert or im­ages from it. A spokeswoman said: “Thank you for let­ting us know about this. We ad­vise our own em­ploy­ees and our cus­tomers when driv­ing to stop their ve­hi­cle safely and switch off the en­gine if they need to make or take a call, or let the call go to voice­mail.

“While it is le­gal to use a hands-free phone, we would strongly rec­om­mend keep­ing a call ex­tremely short, and only use the mo­bile phone if it is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary.

“We have ad­justed our ad to bet­ter re­flect our com­pa­ny­wide po­si­tion.”

Road safety group Brake, which this week launched a cam­paign urg­ing mo­torists to put their phones in the glove box while driv­ing, wel­comed the de­ci­sion.

Cam­paigns di­rec­tor Ja­son Wake­ford said: “Count­less stud­ies have proven that us­ing a mo­bile phone when driv­ing is in­cred­i­bly dis­tract­ing, even hands-free kits – in­creas­ing the chance of be­ing in­volved in a deadly crash.

“Mo­bile phone op­er­a­tors sim­ply must set a good ex­am­ple of safe driv­ing be­hav­iour.

“We’re glad to hear that Vo­da­phone is to now amend its ad ac­cord­ingly.”

Such re­search in­cludes a Sus­sex Univer­sity study last year which found that driv­ers failed to see haz­ards and fo­cused on a smaller area of the road when on even hands­free calls.

This is be­cause more of their vis­ual pro­cess­ing ca­pac­ity than pre­vi­ously thought is used to vis­ually imag­ine what they are talk­ing about.

Fa­tal in­ci­dents in­clude a seven-year-old boy be­ing hit by a driver us­ing her mo­bile’s loud­speaker func­tion in Lin­colnshire three years ago.

Philip Gomm, of the RAC Foun­da­tion, said: “Given a third of peo­ple hurt on the roads each year are on com­pany busi­ness, Voda­fone is right to go be­yond the strict let­ter of the law and pro­mote what is best prac­tice when driv­ing – ig­nore the phone whether you have to pick it up or not.”

How­ever, AA pres­i­dent Ed­mund King said: “Some­times a short, sharp hands­free call via voice ac­ti­va­tion can en­hance safety. For some­one stuck in traf­fic en route to a meet­ing, rather than panic, speed or com­mit road rage, a quick call to say they will be late re­leases ten­sion.”

Re­search found hands-free calls are as dis­tract­ing as those with

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