mobile phone law
December 2003 a new law came into force in the UK that
makes it a specific offence to hold and use a mobile phone whilst
driving. This is in addition to the current laws governing safe
Probably many V8 enthusiasts will welcome this move as we all see
so many cases of people driving cars holding phones to their ear
both in urban areas and on major roads and motorways - just how
they can believe they have proper control of their vehicle is not
clear. But if you still want to keep in touch when you are out and
about in your car, there is a choice of solutions available to suit
your needs and budget - what are the options? A few of the kits
offered by Vodafone and Halfords are mentioned in the adjoining
column plus we have a link below to a summary of a recent survey
by the Sunday Times.
Keep your hands
and eyes free for driving! That has to be the approach. Hands
free kits have a fixed cradle for your mobile phone, a microphone
to talk into, and speakers so you can hear the caller clearly. In
addition hands free kits charge your phone battery whilst you are
remains. Whichever kit you decide to go for - and possibly some
V8 enthusiasts will decide not to have their mobile phone switched
on in their V8 as they will be enjoying their driving so much -
there are still two factors to bear in mind which have safety implications.
First the you have to dial the call and then you have to listen
and in most cases conduct a conversation.
Finding, entering and dialing a number. Certainly moving
your eyes over to the small keyboard of a mobile phone and carefully
pressing the keys - or searching for a preset number - will require
you to take your eyes off the road. Some will find this more distracting
than others. An alternative on some mobile phones is voice recognition
but whether the background noise in a car will mask your voice for
recognition purposes is an issue members who have experience of
using this technology may be able to comment on.
the conversation can require various levels of concentration
and may cause varying degrees of tension for the driver. I am not
sure I would want to conduct a business call involving serious issues
or elements of negotiation whilst driving at the same time!
hands free arrangement you go for you have to remember that the
control of your car is your responsibility. If you decide you need
to make calls in your car, then one of the hands free kit will be
your choice. But even with a hands free kit installed, some care
will be needed over making the call and deciding whether certain
calls might be better made when parked up! What is certainly clear
is that hand held calls from a car on the move are very unwise and
has been unlawful from 1st December 2003.
comments on available hands free in car kits and their performance,
safety and convenience will be very welcome so we can assemble a
survey for the benefit of other members. You can send your comments
to me or post them on the V8 Bulletin Board.
Now I am sure the
price of these kits will fall - already at my local petrol
station they have a good looking hands free self install kit on offer
is this new law?
It is the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) amendment
No 4 2003 which makes it an offence to use a hand-held mobile
phone whilst driving. The term "driving" also includes time
spent stationary, for example at a traffic light. Whether "driving"
includes a person parked on the side of a road using a handheld phone
with or without the engine running is not clear! Once the law takes
effect, the penalty will be a £30.00 fine on the spot although
it will be greater for people who contest the charge and go to court
and lose. The Government is looking to double this and make the offence
endorsable - it's expected that will be three points - but to do that
the proposed change has to go through parliamentary procedures so
the larger fine and points tally are unlikely to be on the statute
book before the Autumn 2004.
A "handheld device" is defined as something that
"is or must be held at some point during the course of making
or receiving a call". So on that basis simply have a hands-free
earpiece and microphone on a flex connected to a mobile phone resting
on the passenger seat is unlikely to meet the test as it will need
to be "held" to press the button to receive a call or to
press buttons to make a call. In any case common sense would also
tell you that the combination of holding the phone and the distraction
of looking away from the road ahead to view the buttons on the mobile
phone is very unwise! You cannot really claim to be maintaining full
care and attention on the road ahead or peripheral road safety matters.
of the best hands-free adaptors
A survey by the Sunday Times (see their Driving Section 9 in the November
9th 2003 issue) produced a list of adaptor kits and their ranking
by the Sunday Times. For details of this useful review see our summary
of that survey.
Hands-Free Adaptors survey.
Victor Smith (12.11.03)
to other webpages
Mobile1 - new mobile phone law
Mobile2 - survey of handsfree
Mobile3 - Clip-N-Go option
Mobile4 - V8 mobile phone option
Mobile5 - Bluetooth mobile
Mobile 6 - Improved Plantronics headset
Mobile 7 - M2300 "best buy"
Vodafone's brochure brings this new motoring law to our attention!
are the options?
Bluetooth headset option for V8 enthusiasts
Mobile Headset with Bluetooth (M2300) fits behind the user's ear
and has no wires to connect to the mobile phone. The connection
uses a Bluetooth radio link, so you will need a mobile phone that
supports Bluetooth, like a Nokia 6210. (30.1.05)
mobile phone option
Since preparing this
note back in November 2003 just before the new regulations came into
force, we have found two universal kits which used together produce
a very effective option for
mounting a mobile phone in an MGBGTV8 or RV8.
Clip-N-Go universal handsfree kit
A Pama Clip-N-Go universal handsfree kit is available at £19.99
from Carphone Warehouse. For full details of this kit see Clip-N-Go.
mobile phone holder with a suction pad
A mobile phone holder which fixes to the windscreen with a suction
pad is available from Halfords as an own brand kit. The holder is
on a flexible stalk so is infinitely adjustable. Using this holder
in conjunction with a Clip -N- Go universal handsfree kit, the clamp
on the phone is far enough away from the speaker to avoid the "feedback
screech" effect. The screen and keys of the mobile phone are
also at eye level but not in your field of view from the driving seat.
The Suction Pad Mobile Phone Holder is available from Halfords at
the modest price of £14.99
including VAT online from Halfords (delivery extra). (Updated:
Suction Pad Mobile Phone Holder
So your total outlay for a portable hands free mobile phone
system and holder is £34.98.
For full details
of this combination see our comprehensive
note - V8 mobile phone option.
Like most of the mobile phone equipment and service providers, Vodafone
is offering two types of hands free kit - either "install yourself"
kits or "professionally installed" systems. In Vodafone's
latest leaflet to subscribers they suggest three kits. Compact
car kit at £19.99 which is made for specific phones and
is available for most popular models. You can fit the holder to your
dashboard or air vents and plug the speaker and microphone into you
car cigar lighter.Mr
Handsfree Car Kit at £39.99. With this kit, you fix the
speaker into the footwell and can position the separate microphone
near your mouth. This arrangement is said to offer high quality sound.
The kit comes with a separate cable for your phone and if you change
your phone at any time in the future, you simply change cables and
continue using the same car kit.
The Bury Universal
at £169.99 which is a small and sophisticated kit, and the
price includes professional installation by an engineer. If you change
your phone, you only need to change the cradle - the rest of the kit
stays in place. You can see more information on these hands free kits
at the Vodafone website.
In a survey of hands-free kits in the Sunday Times Driving Section
9 on November 9th, their recommended "Star Buy" was the
Halfords Fully Integrated Car Phone System at £99.99.