March 8, 2017
An "irresponsible" advert for the new Jaguar XE car's hands-free mobile technology has been banned for encouraging unsafe driving.
The advertorial in a newspaper for Jaguar Land Rover described new in-car features such as wi-fi connectivity and smartphone-integrated apps, allowing the driver to "organize your next meeting and stay in touch with colleagues and family on the move".
It said: "For busy executives, the car is increasingly becoming an extension of the workplace. What was once a cocoon of time in limbo is being transformed into productive reclaimed time."
The ad included a testimonial from Professor David Bailey, of the Aston Business School, who said "the connected nature of the car is invaluable" and let him "use the phone via the car", "use the apps through the car" and "do an interview while going somewhere".
Defending the advert, Jaguar Land Rover said it had specifically stated that any of the described functions of the car should be used without compromising safety.
The car-maker believed that its hands-free features ergonomically benefited the driver and reduced the risk of distraction, allowing them to keep their eyes on the road.
Upholding two complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it accepted that driving while using a hands-free mobile phone kit was not illegal. However, it noted that the Highway Code stated that using hands-free equipment was likely to distract drivers and advised stopping to make or take calls, while satellite navigation systems, congestion warning systems, PCs and multi-media could also be dangerous.
It pointed out that drivers could be stopped by police if they were considered not to be in full control of a vehicle because of being distracted, which could result in a motoring offence.
The ASA's ruling comes a week after tougher penalties for motorists using phones came into force.
New drivers face losing their license the first time they are caught using a phone behind the wheel, while penalties and fines for offenders were doubled to six points and £200 respectively.
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