An ad for the new Jaguar i-Pace car’s hands-free mobile technology has been banned for encouraging unsafe driving.
The advertorial appeared to endorse the idea that busy professionals could use the sophisticated system to organise their day.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled this was ‘irresponsible’ as it might encourage drivers to take their eyes off the road.
The watchdog’s action comes amid mounting concern that drivers are putting lives at risk because they are using mobile phones and other technology behind the wheel.
The Daily Mail has highlighted the ‘mobile madness’ that has resulted in a number of deaths caused by drivers who were distracted by making calls and texts.
The advertorial for the Jaguar i-Pace, pictured above, appeared to endorse the idea that busy professionals could use the sophisticated system to organise their day
The advertorial, which appeared in the Guardian, described the Jaguar’s new in-car features such as wi-fi connectivity and smartphone-integrated apps.
It boasted these allow the driver to ‘organise your next meeting and stay in touch with colleagues and family on the move’.
It said: ‘For busy ei-Pacecutives, the car is increasingly becoming an extension of the work place. 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 ad, Jaguar Land Rover and the Guardian argued the advertorial did not condone or encourage unsafe driving. The car company said the hands-free features reduced the risk of distraction.
The ASA said it accepted that driving while using a hands-free mobile phone kit was not illegal.
The Advertising Standards Authority said it accepted that driving while using a hands-free mobile phone kit was not illegal but noted the Highway Code which states that such equipment was likely to distract drivers
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.
The ASA said: ‘Whilst we understood that work-related activities and communicating with family could be carried out in the car via hands-free technology, we considered that they were likely to distract a driver’s attention from the road and therefore preventing them from having full control of the vehicle.
‘Therefore, we concluded that the advertorial was irresponsible because it was likely to encourage unsafe driving practices.’
It told Jaguar Land Rover that their future advertising must not encourage drivers to carry out tasks that were likely to distract their attention from the road.
The ASA’s ruling comes a week after tougher penalties for motorists using phones came into force.
New drivers face losing their licence 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 from March 1.