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Are Sat Navs As Dangerous As Drink Drivers?

A call by celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman to ban sat navs has been slammed as 'extreme' by driving safety experts.

Road safety charity Brake called for hands-free mobile phone use by drivers to be outlawed.

However, Mr Freeman, from Knutsford, whose clients have included Sir Alex Ferguson and David Beckham, wants the government to take legislation even further.

He says sat navs should be programmed to switch to sound only when the car is moving - or be banned altogether - with a disqu­ali­fica­tion for drivers who fall foul of the law.

He said: "There is no difference between hands-free and hand-held and using a hands-free mobile is on a par with drink driving.

"If you do get caught with a phone you should be disqu­ali­fied. Sat navs are of equal distraction. I'm a user myself but at the same time I'm acutely aware of how dangerous they can be.

"People are not being aware and education is needed so they are advised of the potential acute dangers.

"A balance has to be drawn, but if we want to completely prioritise road safety above all else then we should completely change our sat nav devices, remove the screen when the vehicles is moving.

"And if the primary concern is road safety then I would encourage the banning of sat navs."

He said other distractions were incom­par­able, adding: "When you start a journey you don't say to your kids 'I want you to argue for the next three hours'. You tell them to shut up.

"The problem is people are blissfully unaware of the danger. I use sat navs all the time and when I get in my car I have 30 calls to make, but I drive gingerly. I'm acutely aware. Phones should be for emergencies."

But Jeremy Dent, chairman of the Manchester branch of the RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders Association, says it's all about skilled driving - not removing specific distrac­tions.

Mr Dent, a driving tutor from Stockport who has been driving for 43 years, said: "I think the sat nav suggestion - even for the screen to be off when moving - is extreme.

 

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