Research from Startline Motor Finance has revealed that just one in four think it is safe to make hands-free calls while driving, while another 36% do not make hands free calls because of the risk and 22% believe other drivers concentrate less when they are on the phone.

The research also shows that 16% make hands-free calls but acknowledge their concentration on driving is worse and one in 20 (5%) report that they have nearly had an accident during a call.

The research was carried out following a new initiative from The Road Safety Trust to make more police officers aware of the dangers of hands-free calls. It says that studies have persistently shown hands free calls to be no safer than driving while holding a phone.

 Paul Burgess, CEO at Startline Motor Finance, said: “Our research suggests that a clear majority of drivers recognise that hands-free calls are a road safety issue, and that both their driving and that of other motorists suffers. 

“More than a third of people are effectively policing themselves by choosing not to make hands-free calls and indeed, the fact that one in 20 admit to nearly having had an accident while on the phone is a sign of how serious the problem can be.” 

However, the Startline Used Car Tracker also shows there is limited backing for changing the law on hands-free calling, with fewer than one in five (18%) saying that phoning while driving should be made illegal. 

Burgess said: “It’s not easy to know how to interpret findings that indicate widespread acceptance that hands-free driving is dangerous but little impetus for seeing the law changed. Perhaps, in a society where everyone is expected to be potentially available all the time, there is simply a belief that hands-free calls are a necessary risk.” 

The Startline Used Car Tracker is compiled monthly for Startline Motor Finance by APD Global Research, This latest research saw 303 consumers and 60 dealers questioned.