Speaking on your phone while driving via a bluetooth or hands free connection could soon be banned in the UAE according to a top official.

The Ministry of Interior is currently working on new regulations that will limit the use of smartphones and other gadgets while driving, and they’re even looking into banning handsfree calls. Why? Well because international studies have shown that taking and receiving calls while driving distracts us from the road.

“Use of phones either through Bluetooth or headphones impacts driving,” Major Khalfan Saeed Al Naqbi, the UAE’s Head of Traffic Planning and Policy, told Gulf News yesterday.

“Whether one uses the hands free or not, speaking on the phone can have an adverse impact depending on what is spoken. It could make the driver angry or cause him stress and that adversely impacts his driving. This is why we working on updating our regulations on phone use.”

This is something backed up by research, and as Peter Kissinger, CEO of the US’ AAA Foundation told Alert Driving, “Evidence shows that using a hands-free phone while driving impairs your reaction time to critical events and increases your crash risk about the same as if you were using a hand-held phone.”

*THIS WEEK: Drive safely in Dubai to win Dhs1,000*

The law change that would ban handsfree calls while driving is still only in the planning phase, but if implemented it would be likely to be a GCC-wide decision.

Plus, the Ministry of Interior is already working on strategies to ensure the laws are followed, which Al Naqbi explained to Gulf News: “We have involved university students as well as experts to develop an app that will automatically block the use of phones or other smart devices while a person is driving. We have also tried using jammers, but we are not convinced about jammers because we found that they can have adverse health impacts.”

*ALSO: Driving while on the phone may soon lead to your car being confiscated*

Think taking Bluetooth calls when driving is totally safe? Well here’s an infographic from the United States’ National Safety Council that may change your mind:

Hands free not risk free
Provided by The National Safety Council