Van drivers break the law (and maybe their necks too)

April 11, 2019

More than half of van drivers in the United Kingdom (UK) have admitted to making calls behind the wheel without using a hands-free device. This is the finding of a research study by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

According to the study, van drivers in the UK spend an average of 35 minutes on the phone each day in their vehicles, making an average of seven calls a day. One in ten spend two hours on the phone while driving during the working day.

Since March 2017, driving while using a device – including making calls, texting, taking selfies or posting on social media – has carried a fine of £200 (about R3 800) and a six penalty-point licence endorsement in the UK. Being caught twice can result in the licence being revoked.

However, many van drivers are risking breaking the law by not having a hands-free kit in their vans (23 percent) or failing to use the technology even if their vehicle is fully equipped (33 percent). Just over a quarter (27 percent) said their vehicle was fitted with a hands-free device and they always use it to make phone calls while driving.

I wonder what the equivalent statistics would be in South Africa. Judging by the number of idiots I see on their mobile phones on our roads each day, I suspect that the situation could be even more dire here.

My friends call me a glomad (a global nomad lest you don’t get it). That’s a particularly apt word, because I am always trawling all corners of the globe, looking for stories. As a result, I have slept in some seriously strange places – on a bed of ice in the Arctic circle, on the floor in a traditional Japanese hotel, on the sand dunes in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan … and even on the floor of a Thai cargo ship. Mostly however I tend to sleep on aircraft (if I had a dog, he would bark at me when I eventually come home). I am passionate about trucks, cars, travel, food, wine, people and hugs – so I write about all these things. Except the hugs.

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