Photo: Shanie Avrahami

The Commons Transport Select Committee have recommended to the British Government a complete ban on hands-free devices for all drivers. A public consultation on the proposal should be published by the end of 2019.

According to Motorcycle News the recommendation came after research showed that using a hands-free device while driving is distracting and no safer than using a hand-held phone.

The Chair of the Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, commented: “…there is also a misleading impression that hands-free use is safe. The reality is that any use of a phone distracts from a driver’s ability to pay full attention and the Government should consider extending the ban to reflect this.”

The committee has also recommended increasing the penalties for the use of a mobile phone while driving.

There was no indication of how such ban will be enforced.

Should such a ban take place it will no doubt have an effect on the hands-free industry.

Using a hand held device while driving is a worldwide problem and no doubt a dangerous thing to do. It endangers the driver and other road users. This created a whole industry for hands-free devices designed for both drivers and riders. The riders hands-free communication devices allow turn-by-turn navigation instructions, communicating with the pillion passenger, listening to music and answering phone calls. Many models of motorbike helmets are “hands-free ready”, while we see more and more models with integrated communication systems.

But are these communication systems a distraction? If so, should a ban be mandated by the government? With police not being able to enforce existing laws how exactly are they going to enforce such a ban? I believe that in this case training and education is far better than regulation and penalties.

It appears this recommendation is a half-baked idea, a knee jerk reaction to a study and a way to increase revenue. There is no word yet if and when it’s going to come up in Australia. Watch this space for updates.

Be safe. Enjoy the ride.