Driven to distraction! Hi-tech cars can make it harder to drive safely

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Daily Mail

Tougher new rules on smartphone use in cars have been announced by ministers because of concerns over the potentially lethal distractions they cause to motorists. Yet safety experts point out that smartphones are just the beginning.

Indeed, the growing trend towards in-car touch screens and digital dashboards means that many distractions are already built into cars.

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When the legislation outlawing mobile phone use in cars arrived in 2003, handheld use was out, but hands-free access was allowed.

This was despite studies showing that the key danger is being engrossed in a conversation, losing concentration and zoning out, rather than the physical act of holding the phone. So why prosecute only handheld use? Because legally it is easier to make a prosecution stick if the phone is being held.

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The law was tightened and penalties rose, from an initial 30 to 60 (later 100) plus three penalty points, and finally to 200 plus six penalty points.

Currently, drivers are banned from texting or making a phone call on a handheld device, unless in an emergency.

And this month the Government announced that, from next year, this will be extended to cover scrolling through playlists, taking photos or videos, and playing games on phones when driving.

The Highway Code will also be revised to make it clear that being stationary in traffic counts as driving, and that using a handheld phone at traffic lights or in motorway jams is illegal except in limited circumstances.

Continue read on dailymail.co.uk

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