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Making calls at the wheel as dangerous as drink driving, according to Kent County Council

By Jenna Dobbs

Using a hands-free device while driving isn't as safe as you might think, according to research from Kent County Council.

It found that, while more than half of the county's motorists use their mobiles hands-free, doing so is as dangerous as being drunk at the wheel.

Despite being legal, talking on the phone without using a handset can increase stopping distances and delay your reactions.

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It's a criminal offence to use a mobile phone while driving
It's a criminal offence to use a mobile phone while driving

When using a hand-held phone, which is against the law, the impairment is even worse.

But according to KCC, almost half of the county's drivers have admitted to using their handset while in control of a car.

Last year, police recorded 1,096 offence of people using their phones at the wheel - up from 824 in 2016.

Chief Inspector Richard Smeed said: "At 30mph, in 2.3 seconds, you will cover 100ft of road, that’s the equivalent to the length of a Boeing 737. "Those few seconds are comparable to the amount of time it takes to check your phone whilst driving.

"I’d like people to reflect on the opportunities for the unexpected to happen within that time and distance.

"It’s vital that motorists put safety first and keep their eyes on the road.

"It’s more than just a penalty; you could seriously injure or kill another road user by checking that text or taking a call.

"The message is clear – don’t do it and don’t let others take the risk either."

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