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How To Beat the Possible Blue Tooth Ban

Feb 25, 2008
Attempts are being made through UK governments to have any use of a mobile phone, including hands free, to be banned. However, it is thought that this will be virtually impossible to enforce.

Consumers who are careful considerate drivers have taken against this. They argue that if they cannot have a phone conversation with the use of Bluetooth then surely they cannot have any in car conversation with passengers as it will cause a distraction. In the UK, the AA and the RAC say that hands free phones are safe but the government is keen to stop all phone conversation by drivers.

How many people do you see driving along having animated discussions with their passengers which is very distracting? There are numerous mothers on the road, doing the school run, chastising their children whilst driving. This constitutes another dangerous distraction.

Personally, when it comes to the distraction of children in a car, I am all in favour of having an on-board cage with silencer but I am told this would be unethical.

Back in 2002, car manufacturer BMW saw this problem coming and introduced the option of a wireless Bluetooth connection in their vehicles. Other car manufacturers would do well to follow suit.

This enables the phone to communicate with the car without the need for a standard wire connection. Operation of the phone is carried out through controls on the multi function steering wheel or via voice activation.

To introduce his sort of technology as standard would benefit all car owners, not just the BMW buyers. It would be as safe as having that conversation with the passenger.

The Transport Research Laboratory collated evidence that said that 1 in 28 road accidents resulting in a fatality involved distraction within the vehicle of a mobile phone. These figures became apparent back in 1997 and although Bluetooth is more widely used now hand held mobiles have become illegal, many people are still breaking the law.

If car manufacturers were to follow the lead of BMW with the mobile phone technology available, it would do away with any excuse of law breaking with hand held mobiles.

O2 say that during the weekend following the launch of the iPhone, tens of thousands of units were sold. This means many more drivers on the road with the potential use of a phone whilst driving.

A two year study carried out in the US showed that the use of a mobile phone up to 10 minutes before an accident was associated with a fourfold increase in the likelihood of causing a crash. This shows that it is not just the action of holding a phone instead of the steering wheel but the distraction caused by the conversation itself.

This must be particularly appropriate when taking business calls on a mobile phone while driving. Concentration is diverted to the conversation for some time after the call has finished and detracts from the driver's attention to the road.

Laws have been introduced to ban the use of hand held mobiles while driving. The government have looked at ways of banning all use of mobiles in a vehicle and major TV campaigns have been launched highlighting the dangers with the use of still photos from reconstructed accidents for the shock factor.

But still, people continue to use their hand held mobiles for making and receiving calls and texts while driving, putting their own, and others, lives at risk.

If a car manufacturer such as BMW, value their customers lives then the application of Bluetooth wireless phone connections and voice activated controls should come as standard. At least, this way, a drivers hands never have to leave the steering wheel, any conversations are no more distracting than those carried out with a passenger and the driver is not breaking the law.

At the end of the day, cars are dangerous objects when coupled with human error. For any driver, BMW or otherwise, the responsibility is on them. Drivers get distracted driving alone with no phone. It will never be possible to erase all the problems associated with driving but keeping your hands on the steering wheel is a good start.
About the Author
Mobile phone expert Catherine Harvey looks at the use of Bluetooth technology in BMW vehicles. To find out more please visit http://www.cooperbmw.co.uk/
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