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Half of young drivers have had a work-related call while driving, says Brake

The road safety charity’s research shows that over the past year:

  • One in six drivers (17%) have had a work-related call while driving
  • Almost a quarter (23%) of drivers have talked to family on the phone while driving.
  • One in seven drivers (15%) have talked to friends on the phone while driving.

Worryingly, the figures increase dramatically for young drivers (17-24). In the past year:

  • Almost half (49%) of young drivers have had a work-related call while driving.
  • More than a third (35%) of young drivers have talked to family on the phone while driving.
  • More than two in five young drivers (21%) have talked to friends on the phone while driving.

Brake added the figures include both hand-held and hands-free phone calls, as studies have proved both are as dangerous, making you four times more likely to be in a crash that causes injury. That’s why Brake calls for all phone use, including hands-free, to be banned at the wheel, and appeals to drivers to put their phones on silent and out of reach before getting behind the wheel.

Brake also asked drivers how long they drive without taking a break. Two-thirds (67%) admitted driving for more than the recommended two hours, with a quarter (24%) doing so once a month or more. Research has found driving performance deteriorates after this time, as you become less able to concentrate and slower to react to hazards.

In response, Brake is advising drivers to take a break for calls, by taking a minimum 15 minutes break at least every two hours, and using those to make calls and respond to messages, as well as resting, rather than putting lives at risk by using a phone at the wheel.

Brake is also urging friends, family, employers and colleagues to do their bit and make life easier for drivers by not calling them or continuing phone conversations while they’re at the wheel, with Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, saying: “Employers, too, have an important responsibility to make sure they are not putting their employees in danger.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.