Articles Tagged ‘Phone Smart - Brake the road safety charity’

Brake calls for urgent investment in road policing after huge drop in drivers caught on mobiles

news@brake.org.uk

28 September 2016

New figures revealed by the BBC after a freedom of information request show that the number of people caught using phones at the wheel has dropped from 177,900 to 93,606 between 2011-12 and 2015-16. That is a reduction of almost 40%. The majority of the decrease has been seen in the last two years.

The Police Federation says the number of dedicated road traffic officers has been hugely reduced over the last few years.  There has been a 23% reduction in the number of full-time equivalent traffic police officers from 5,635 in 2010 to 4,356 in 2014. Reductions have been experienced in 41 of the 43 forces. (Full breakdown of police forces available here in a response to a Written Question Jack Dromey MP, responded to on 2 Feb 2015).

The government recently confirmed plans to double fines and penalty points for using a phone behind the wheel, but without sufficient officers to enforce this, Brake is concerned even the new tougher penalties may not be seen as a real deterrent.

21 police forces (see table in notes to editors below) saw their conviction rate drop by more than half and just two police forces have seen the numbers of people caught increase in that period: Norfolk and West Yorkshire.

Alice Bailey, communications and campaigns advisor for Brake, said: “It would be wonderful to think this drop is down to people getting the message about the dangers of mobile phone use, but sadly we don’t think this is the case. A recent report called mobile use behind the wheel 'an epidemic', with our own studies showing more than half of drivers in some age groups admit they still use a phone while driving. As our police forces have faced major budget reductions, road traffic officers have too often been seen as a soft option for cuts. They are an essential part of the service and save lives. As the government brings in tougher new penalties for this crime, it must make sure it resources our police forces properly so this is a real deterrent.” 

ENDS.

NOTES TO EDITORS

             

Essex, Northumbria and Gwent declined to respond

         

Cleveland, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire failed to respond in time

       

Leicestershire is calendar year rather than financial year

       

Wiltshire figures only include penalty points or progressed to court

     
                   
     

How many drivers were caught using their mobile phones while driving

                   
     

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

   

AVON/SOMERSET

 

1756

1371

1134

1060

854

   

BEDFORDSHIRE

 

1607

1421

1250

989

730

   

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

 

2268

2998

2840

2476

1828

   

CHESHIRE

   

3935

2677

3296

2277

2062

   

CITY OF LONDON

 

514

348

229

277

340

   

CUMBRIA

   

1383

1129

953

833

634

   

DERBYSHIRE

 

1523

1016

1311

1273

1217

   

DORSET

   

3539

2186

1531

1214

925

 

**

DURHAM

   

881

651

552

417

398

   

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

 

1124

868

889

790

857

   

GREATER MANCHESTER

7605

9140

4534

3024

2885

   

HAMPSHIRE

 

5936

5372

5479

6272

4986

   

HERTFORDSHIRE

 

3389

3425

3613

2743

1652

   

HUMBERSIDE

 

2934

2510

1557

1188

1137

   

KENT

   

4496

2747

1404

822

723

   

LANCASHIRE

 

6029

4774

2559

971

1093

   

LEICESTERSHIRE

 

1567

1324

1410

1209

653

 

**

LINCOLNSHIRE

 

1810

1473

1686

1405

1042

   

MERSEYSIDE

 

5772

4399

3615

4043

2490

   

MET

   

30923

28150

28045

23036

19610

   

NORFOLK

   

1935

1586

1022

836

2287

   

NORTH YORKSHIRE

 

2215

1412

998

786

702

   

NORTHANTS

 

1410

1110

794

658

489

   

SOUTH YORKSHIRE

 

3743

2690

2233

1640

1374

   

SURREY

   

3854

2655

2597

2339

1646

   

SUSSEX

   

5981

4268

2474

1846

1424

   

THAMES VALLEY

 

11221

11845

10668

10853

10103

   

WARWICKS

 

918

979

773

646

750

   

WEST MERCIA

 

2564

2565

3067

2235

2336

   

WEST MIDLANDS

 

6694

4100

2684

2140

2818

   

WEST YORKSHIRE

 

1335

4489

4741

2453

3107

   

WILTSHIRE

 

2008

1462

1372

664

412

 

**

NORTHERN IRELAND

 

9561

8420

7849

7193

6550

   

SCOTLAND

 

28311

30243

35732

17922

10061

   

DYFED POWYS

 

2603

2590

2488

1254

1493

   

NORTH WALES

 

1599

1800

1570

1518

1058

   

SOUTH WALES

 

2957

1985

1274

1316

880

   
                   

TOTAL

   

177900

162178

150223

112618

93606

   

YR ON YEAR FALL

   

8.8

7.4

25

16.9

   

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes.

Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week.

Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. 

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.



Brake comments on week-long police crackdown on phone use whilst driving

News from Brake
Monday, 22 January 2018
 
Starting on Monday 22 January, police forces across England and Wales are engaged in a week-long national operation, cracking down on drivers using their phones behind the wheel.
 
Commenting on the news, Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said:“Phone use behind the wheel is an increasing menace on our roads, nearly halving reaction times and posing a serious threat to lives of other road users [1]. No call or message is worth a life and Brake is calling upon all drivers to put their phones away in the glovebox, out of reach.
 
“This week’s crackdown on mobile phone use whilst driving is to be welcomed. Drivers should have the expectation that if they use a phone behind the wheel, they will be caught. However, this can only be delivered through a more concerted and long-term police enforcement effort.
 
“Shockingly, research has shown that hands-free calls cause almost the same level of risk whilst driving as hand-held - last year a driver using a hands-free device was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving [2]. Brake urges government to regulate against hands-free phone use at the wheel, ridding our roads of the menace of distracted driving.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to editors:
 
[1] Conversations in cars: the relative hazards of mobile phones, Transport Research Laboratory (TRL)
 
Brake’s campaign page ‘Phone Smart’ can be found here and further information on driver distraction here.
 
About Brake
 
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
 
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
 
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake responds to sentencing of Mohmed Patel for causing death by dangerous driving

News from Brake
Tuesday 7 August 2018
 
Mohmed Salman Patel has today been jailed for six years and been disqualified from driving for nine years after being found guilty of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving. Mr Patel was found to have been using his mobile phone to text moments before he collided with Rachel Murphy and Shelby Maher on 20 April 2016
.
Commenting on the sentencing, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
 
“Mr Patel’s selfish actions resulted in the tragic and needless deaths of Rachel Murphy and Shelby Maher and yet he will only face a maximum of six years in jail - a pitifully lenient sentence for such an awful crime. Ten months ago, the Government announced it would introduce tougher sentences for drivers who kill and yet the law remains unchanged. The Government needs to stop sitting on its hands and introduce this legislation - road crash victims deserve justice.”
 
“Mobile phone use behind the wheel is all too common on our roads and its consequences, as in this case, can be truly catastrophic. The deaths of Rachel and Shelby must act as a wake-up call to the Government and technology companies that action needs to be taken to stop illegal phone use behind the wheel. Research has shown that smartphone owners can’t go 12 minutes without checking their phone and the implications for this for road safety must be acknowledged and acted upon. "
 
[ENDS]
 
 
Notes to editors:
 About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake welcomes new "Do Not Disturb While Driving" feature for iPhones

News from Brake

6 June 2017
news@brake.org.uk

Apple has announced that its iOS 11 software update is to include a new "Do Not Disturb While Driving" mode for iPhones. The new feature will detect when someone is driving and turn off all notifications, as well as setting an automatic text response to notify friends and family when the driver is behind the wheel.

Jason Wakeford, spokesman for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "This new feature is to be welcomed and will help drivers stay focused on the road and not their phones. Mobile use behind the wheel is a growing menace and so Brake would like to see similar initiatives from other phone manufacturers to help cut distractions in the car.

"Advances in technology must also be accompanied by rigorous enforcement and tougher penalties for those who flout the law. Traffic policing should be made a national priority, to ensure that drivers have the expectation that if they use a mobile phone behind the wheel, they will be caught and punished."

Driving is a highly unpredictable and risky activity and requires full concentration at all times. Drivers who divide their attention between their phone and the road are significantly increasing their risk of causing a devastating crash. A study of in-vehicle video footage estimated that one in five (22%) of road crashes could be caused, at least in part, by driver distraction. It also showed that drivers who perform a secondary task at the wheel are two to three times more likely to crash.[i]

[ENDS]

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

[i] The impact of driver inattention on near-crash/crash risk, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2006

Brake welcomes police crackdown on drivers using mobiles

23 January 2017

news@brake.org.uk

Almost 8,000 drivers were caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel 

A police campaign to catch drivers who break the law by using mobiles behind the wheel has been welcomed by road safety charity, Brake.

The clampdown comes ahead of plans, announced last year, by the Department of Transport, to double the punishment for using a mobile phone while driving.

The charity says the use of mobiles is a growing menace, especially as devices become more sophisticated. A recent survey by Brake and Direct Line revealed around half of drivers aged between 25 and 34 are taking huge risks by texting, using apps or going online on their mobiles when they are behind the wheel.

More than half (55%) of 25-34 year old drivers questioned admitted they had sent or read a text message on their mobile, while behind the wheel of their car, in the last year.

Despite it being illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone at all while driving, more than four in 10 (42%) revealed they send or read messages at least once a week.

One in five young drivers (18-24) confirmed they regularly text and/or instant message when they are behind the wheel.

Just under half of drivers (49%) aged 25-34 admitted they sometimes go online or use apps (other than sat nav apps) while driving. Almost a third of drivers in that age group said they do that several times a week at least.

Driving is a highly unpredictable and risky activity, so it requires full concentration at all times. Drivers who divide their attention between their phone and the road are significantly increasing their risk of causing a devastating crash.

Reading and writing messages – whether texting, emailing or using apps or social networks – while driving is even more distracting than talking on a phone, as it takes your mind, hands and eyes off the road. Texting drivers’ reaction times are 35% slower and they also have poor lane control.[i] One large-scale study found texting drivers were 23 times more likely to crash than a driver paying full attention.[ii]

Reaching for a mobile phone can be an irresistible temptation for some, despite knowledge of the risks. In the UK, experts have warned of increasing levels of smartphone addiction by users who are unable to go without checking their phone for short periods or through the night.[iii]

A study of in-vehicle video footage estimated that 22% of crashes could be caused, at least in part, by driver distraction. It also showed that drivers who perform a secondary task at the wheel are two to three times more likely to crash.[iv]

Many drivers allow themselves to be distracted because they believe they are in control, and do not believe distraction poses a significant risk.[v] However, research shows drivers are not able to correctly estimate how distracted they are[vi] and 98% are not able to divide their attention without a significant deterioration in driving performance.[vii]

Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, said: “We welcome this crackdown by police forces. The law needs to be much tougher with this type of offence, which appears to be growing in numbers.  Younger drivers, especially those aged between 25 and 34, simply aren’t getting the message about the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving. Doing any other complex task while driving hugely increases your chance of crashing. These drivers are putting their own and other people’s lives in grave danger by taking this risk. If a phone has to be used as a sat nav, it must be programmed before setting off on the journey and properly secured. There is no other acceptable way to use a phone while driving.”

Notes to Editors:

Full survey results

The survey consisted of 1,000 drivers and was conducted by Surveygoo.

Q.1 Within the past year, have you driven while sending or reading a text or instant message?

Age BandTotal18-2425-3435-4445-5455-64Over 65
Yes, once a day or more 2% 8% 10% 1% 2% 0% 1%
Yes, several times a week 6% 12% 28% 6% 3% 2% 1%
Yes, once a week 2% 3% 4% 5% 1% 1% 0%
Yes, once a month 0% 4% 1% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Yes, only once or twice 5% 7% 12% 10% 6% 2% 1%
No 85% 67% 45% 79% 88% 95% 97%

Q.2 Within the past year, have you driven while using the internet, social media or other apps on your phone (not including using it as a sat-nav)?

Age Band

Age BandTotal18-2425-3435-4445-5455-64Over 65
Yes, once a day or more 3% 4% 17% 2% 2% 0% 0%
Yes, several times a week 4% 12% 14% 6% 3% 0% 0%
Yes, once a week 0% 2% 0% 1% 0% 0.5% 0%
Yes, once a month 1% 2% 2% 1% 0% 1% 0%
Yes, only once or twice 3% 8% 16% 8% 0% 0.5% 0%
No 89% 72% 51% 82% 95% 98% 100%

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

About Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com


[i]  The effect of text messaging on driver behaviour: a simulator study, Transport Research Laboratory, 2008

[ii] Driver Distraction in Commercial Motor Vehicle Operations, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 2009

[iii] The Communications Market 2011, Ofcom, 2011

[iv] The impact of driver inattention on near-crash/crash risk, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2006

[v] Driver distraction, RoSPA, 2007

[vi] Assessing the awareness of performance decrements in distracted drivers, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, 2008

[vii] Supertaskers: Profiles in extraordinary multitasking ability, University of Utah, 2010

Charity welcomes tougher penalties for mobile phone use behind the wheel

News from Brake

1 March 2017 
news@brake.org.uk

The government has introduced (1st March) tougher penalties for those caught using mobile phones when driving. Points on a driving licence have doubled, from three to six and the penalty fine has increased from £100, to £200.

The move has been generally welcomed by road safety charity, Brake, but it warns that the fine is still too low, and it remains concerned about the police having enough resources to enforce the new law.

Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, said: “The increase in the points is very welcome. However, when you realise that you can be fined £1,000 for not having a TV licence, then the £200 fine for illegally using a mobile looks woefully inadequate.”

“We’re also very concerned about the ever dwindling number of roads traffic police. Their numbers have fallen by almost a third since 2010. There are now approximately 3,700 specialist traffic officers in England and Wales. We want the UK government to look again at this, and make roads policing a national priority."

[ENDS]

Notes to editors

The Department for Transport’s THINK! road safety unit launched an awareness campign on 1 March, featuring the Brake volunteers – the Carvin family 11 years ago, they lost a loving mother and wife. Paul, Emily and Ben share their heart breaking story about how one driver texting at the wheel changed their lives forever. 

Their story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DHGeLBc5qY&feature=youtu.be

Here’s Brake’s ‘fact checker’ on mobile phone use behind the wheel. http://www.brake.org.uk/facts-resources/1654-talking-reading-and-responding-at-the-wheel

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Coalition calls on mobile industry to cut driver distraction caused by phones

News from Brake
Monday, 11 September 2017
news@brake.org.uk

A group of road charities and organisations has today written to Android, Microsoft and the GSMA (Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association), urging them to include an 'opt out' driving mode as standard across mobile handsets. Technology to automatically prevent distracting alerts while driving, the coalition warns, is urgently needed to tackle "the needless deaths and serious injuries caused by drivers using handheld mobile phones behind the wheel".

The letter comes ahead of Apple's expected release this week of its iOS 11 system update, which will include a 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' mode that detects when someone is driving and turns off calls, text messages and notifications [1].

Brake and the RAC’s Be Phone Smart campaign, together with Brighton and Hove City Council, the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety, RED Driving School, Road Safety GB and RoadPeace have applauded the new iPhone feature as it can automatically prevent dangerous mobile phone distractions occurring in the first place.

In the letter, the coalition urges Android and Microsoft to follow suit, pledging to roll out an opt out driving mode in their next updates which will:

  • Automatically, as a default setting, switch on when sensors in the handset detect the user is driving;
  • Turn the screen blank and suspend any push notifications;
  • Be able to send automatic replies via SMS to anyone contacting the user to inform them that they are driving;
  • Only permit the handset to be used in conjunction with a hands-free device when enabled; and
  • Provide evidence that the phone was in ‘drive safe’ mode – potentially leading to reduced insurance premiums.

The group says the illegal use of handheld mobile phones at the wheel is now at "epidemic proportions", with an estimated 11 million UK motorists admitting to making or receiving a call while driving and a shocking five million saying they have taken photos or videos while at the wheel of a moving vehicle [2].

Drivers using handsets when driving are four times more likely to be in a crash that causes injury [3], and reaction times, when using a mobile at the wheel, are a staggering 33 per cent slower than when driving after drinking at the maximum England and Wales drink drive limit [4]. Studies have also shown that the mere sound of a mobile phone ringing causes distraction and can increase the crash risk [5].

In 2015 - the latest year for which figures are available in Great Britain - Department for Transport statistics show that 22 people were killed and 99 were seriously injured in incidents where a driver was using their handheld phone behind the wheel [6]. However, there are likely to be many more crashes where the illegal use of a mobile phone was a contributory factor.

The coalition concludes its letter by stating that "no call, text or social media update is worth risking a life" and that the mobile phone industry has "a major part to play in reducing the distraction caused by phones in the car", reducing deaths and serious injuries across the globe.

Brake's Director of Campaigns, Jason Wakeford, said: “The illegal use of handheld mobile phones when driving is a growing menace and a major threat to road safety. Research shows that using a phone at the wheel affects reaction times as much as drink driving, increasing the chances of a crash.

“As a society, we have become addicted to our mobile phones, but a split second distraction caused by a call, text or notification behind the wheel can be deadly. The industry must play its part and include technology as standard which helps keep drivers' attention on the road, saving lives and preventing serious injuries.”

RAC Be Phone Smart spokesman Pete Williams said: “Illegal handheld phone use is one of the biggest in-car problems of our time and it will take a concerted effort to get the message across to drivers that it’s simply not okay.

“We need organisations to work together and to come up with creative ways of helping drivers realise that no text or tweet while driving is worth the risk.

“Apple’s imminent iOS update is a major step forward and will mean that handsets used by millions of people will, for the first time, include in-built software that can reduce the distraction risk posed by handheld phones. Now we need the other major operating systems – Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile – to follow suit.”

[ENDS]

For more information:
Jason Wakeford, Brake, jwakeford@brake.org.uk
Rod Dennis, RAC, rod.dennis@rac.co.uk

Notes to editors:

[1] https://www.apple.com/uk/ios/ios-11-preview/

[2] RAC (2016) Snap, chat, text, tweet – anything goes at the wheel as motorists relax attitudes: http://www.rac.co.uk/press-centre#/pressreleases/snap-chat-text-tweet-anything-goes-at-the-wheel-as-motorists-relax-attitudes-1559464.

[3] University of Western Australia (2005) Role of mobile phones in motor vehicle crashes resulting in hospital attendance: a case-crossover study.

[4] Transport Research Laboratory (2009) Using a hands-free mobile whilst driving can be more dangerous than drink driving.

[5] Aston University (2012) Influence of personal mobile phone ringing and usual intention to answer on driver error.

[6] Department for Transport (2015) Reported road casualties in Great Britain: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/reported-road-casualties-great-britain-annual-report-2015.

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Increase in drivers admitting phone use behind the wheel

News from Brake
Thursday 21 March 2019
 
Brake comments on RAC research showing an increase in phone use behind the wheel
 
The RAC has today released new figures showing that across all age groups, a quarter (25%) of drivers admit to illegally making or receiving calls while driving, compared to 24% in 2017, despite the introduction of tougher penalties for illegal phone use in March 2017.
 
The RAC’s study of drivers also found dramatic rises in the proportion of younger working-age drivers admitting to using a phone illegally in 2018. Drivers in the 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 age groups admit to a range of dangerous activities involving a handheld phone, with nearly half in the younger age group (47%) saying they make or receive calls while driving – up 7% on 2017 and compared to just 25% of drivers in all age groups.
 
Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
 
 
“Mobile phone use behind the wheel is illegal and dangerous, distracting drivers from the road where even a split-second’s inattention can lead to devastation. The introduction of tougher penalties for illegal phone use behind the wheel two years ago was absolutely the right thing to do, however what this research makes clear is that drivers are still failing to comply with the law. With savage police cuts resulting in far fewer officers on our roads enforcing the law, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. We need the Government to make roads policing an investment priority so there is an active deterrent to illegal behaviour and drivers who break the law know that they will be caught and punished.”
 
ENDS
 
Notes to editors:
  • Original story here

One in four people feel it is safe to use a mobile phone when behind the wheel

News from Brake
Wednesday 29 May 2019
 
One in four people feel it is safe to use a mobile phone when behind the wheel in stationary traffic, according to the latest National Travel Survey, published by the Department for Transport today. The survey also revealed that three quarters of respondents feel that the law on mobile phone use whilst driving is not being properly enforced.
 
Whilst most (62%) respondents acknowledge that the use of mobile phones whilst driving, including hands-free kits, is dangerous, road safety charity, Brake, wants to see action taken to further reinforce this message. They want to see a ban on all mobile phone use behind the wheel, including hands-free, and the police given the resources they need to enforce the law.
 
Research has shown that hands-free phone use impairs drivers as much as the use of handheld phones, as the main danger arises from the distraction of the call, rather than from the holding of a device, and that the crash risk when using a mobile can be greater than someone who is drunk-driving.  Brake is calling for a ban on all mobile phone use behind the wheel to make the nature of the danger clear to drivers, as the charity believes that the current law, which permits hands-free use, gives a false impression that using a mobile behind the wheel is safe and can lead to dangerous behaviours.
 
Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
 
 
“Using a phone when behind the wheel can impair you as much as driving drunk so it’s a real concern that one in four people think it’s safe to use their phone when behind the wheel in stationary traffic – a car is a lethal weapon and it only takes a moments inattention to result in devastating consequences. It’s equally worrying that three quarters of people feel that the law is not being properly enforced, a situation which may lead some to think they can get away with using their phone behind the wheel.
 
“Most drivers know that all phone use behind the wheel is dangerous, but we need the law to reflect this by banning the use of hands-free devices. The current law provides a dangerous false impression about the use of phones behind the wheel and must be changed. We also call on the Government to invest in roads policing as a priority so that the police have the resources they need to ensure there is a true deterrent to the menace of mobile phone use behind the wheel.”
 
ENDS
 
Notes to editors:
About Brake
 
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
 
We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Phone smart

Campaigning to stamp out deadly driver distraction by texts, emails and calls.

Driving is a highly complex task requiring a person’s full attention, as any error can be catastrophic. Driving whilst using a phone (either hand-held or hands-free) has been shown to have a more detrimental impact on safety than drinking certain amounts of alcohol and with the increasing dominance of mobile devices in our lives, the risks and danger of driver distraction must be addressed with urgency.

Phone smart is a campaign to eliminate the danger of driver mobile phone use from our roads. Simply put, no call or message is worth a life.

What are we calling for?

 Through our Phone Smart campaign, Brake is calling for:

  • The banning of hands-free phones at the wheel
  • Regulation against the use of in-built car 'infotainment' screens
  • Investment in visible, effective and tough enforcement and punishment of people who talk, read and write at the wheel

Key facts

  • Driver reaction times are 30% slower on a hands-free phone than driving with a blood alcohol level of 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood (the current limit in England and Wales), and nearly 50% slower than a driver not on a phone.
  • Drivers on any phone are four times more likely to be in a crash that causes injury.
  • Messaging drivers have 35% slower reaction times and poor lane control and one large-scale study found they were 23 times more likely to crash than an attentive driver. About half of drivers aged 25-34 in a Brake and Direct Line survey admitted to messaging, using apps and browsing at the wheel.

Take action

Learn more

Learn more about the dangers of mobile phone use behind the wheel, here and about driver distraction, here.
 
Explore the research
Brake’s campaigns are evidence-led and seek to learn and build on existing research.

Campaign news

 

Smartphone addiction findings highlight road safety danger

News from Brake
Thursday 2 August 2018
 
A report published today by the communications watchdog, Ofcom, has highlighted the extent of the UK’s mobile phone addiction. The report found that smartphone owners cannot go 12 minutes without checking their phone and almost two thirds describe it as an essential part of their lives.
 
Road safety charity, Brake, has expressed concerns about the UK’s mobile phone addiction and the devastating impact this could have on road safety. Their ‘Phone smart’ campaign seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of illegal phone use behind the wheel and calls on the Government to invest in enforcement to provide an effective deterrent.
 
Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
 
“In our modern world it may seem unsurprising that people can’t go 12 minutes without using their smartphone, but this ‘addiction’ can have deadly consequences if people can’t leave their phones alone whilst driving. A split-second distraction caused by a call, text or notification behind the wheel can be fatal. In 2016, 32 people were killed and 105 seriously injured in crashes involving a driver being distracted by their mobile phone, and this problem is getting worse year-on-year.”
 
“Illegal mobile phone use behind the wheel is all too common and action needs to be taken to rid our roads of this dangerous menace. We are calling on the Government to invest in greater awareness, more enforcement and tougher punishment of people who illegally use their phone at the wheel to provide an effective deterrent to this blight on our roads. Drivers need to understand that no call, text or social media update is worth risking a life.”
 
[ENDS]
 
 
Notes to editors:
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Tougher penalties for illegal mobile phone use behind the wheel undermined by lack of enforcement

News from Brake
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
news@brake.org.uk

Enforcement of new, tougher laws on illegal mobile phone use at the wheel stalled just one month after their introduction, according to figures obtained by Brake, the road safety charity.

From 1 March this year, penalties for drivers using a mobile handset were doubled to a £200 fine and six penalty points.

Freedom of Information figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), obtained by Brake, reveal that 10,428 drivers in England, Scotland and Wales received six penalty points for illegal mobile phone use in the four-month period between March and June 2017 [1]. Although 5,258 drivers received points in March 2017, during a nationwide police crackdown, the numbers receiving points for illegal phone use plummeted to 1,865 in April and just 1,387 in June.

Table: Number of 'CU80' endorsements with a six-point penalty imposed by month of offence (as at 26 August 2017)

March 2017

April 2017

May 2017

June 2017

Total

5,258

1,865

1,918

1,387

10,428

Source: DVLA. Note: The driving licence database changes constantly as the DVLA receives driving licence applications and other information that updates the records of individual drivers. Therefore, this data is a snapshot of the state of the record at the time of the request.

Most of the penalties in the four months to June were given to drivers from Greater London (2,186), followed by Essex (580), the West Midlands (372), Hampshire (348) and Kent (308) [2]. A total of 736 drivers in Scotland and 392 in Wales received six points for using handsets behind the wheel in the same period.

The toughening of the law in March also means that new drivers will lose their licence if caught using a hand-held device behind the wheel. Today's figures show that 104 new drivers in Britain lost their licence for the offence in March 2017, but this dropped to just 36 in April and 22 in June.

Table: Number of 'CU80' endorsements which resulted in the new driver being revoked under the New Drivers Act (NDA) by month of offence (as at 26 August 2017)

March 2017

April 2017

May 2017

June 2017

Total

104

36

32

22

194

Source: DVLA. Note: The driving licence database changes constantly as the DVLA receives driving licence applications and other information that updates the records of individual drivers. Therefore, this data is a snapshot of the state of the record at the time of the request.

The licences of 39 new drivers from Greater London, 12 from the West Midlands, ten from Essex and seven each from Greater Manchester, Hampshire and Shropshire, were revoked in the four-month period [3].

The figures come following recent Department for Transport data that shows that mobile phone use was a contributory factor in 478 collisions on British roads last year, an increase of over a quarter (26%) since 2012 [4].

Brake is calling for a renewed focus by police forces on enforcement of mobile phone laws − issuing points in particular − to reduce deadly crashes. The charity has also led a coalition of NGOs and organisations in urging the mobile phone industry to roll out 'opt-out' technology as standard, to automatically prevent distracting alerts when driving.

Commenting on today's figures, Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Illegal mobile phone use at the wheel is a growing menace to road safety. Given the scale of the problem, the fact that so few drivers have received points is deeply troubling. Tougher laws are a big step forwards, but they must be accompanied by rigorous enforcement if they are to work. It's essential that police forces send out a clear message that drivers who flout the law will be caught and punished.

"There has been an unacceptable rise in the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads and enforcement plays a crucial part in improving safety. The Government must treat road policing as a national priority and reverse savage cuts to road traffic officers.

"Research shows that using a phone behind the wheel affects reaction times as much as drink driving, increasing the chances of a fatal crash. Brake urges motorists to put mobiles on silent and out of reach when in the car, to keep focused on the road. Mobile operators and manufacturers must also play their part by including 'opt-out' technology on handsets as standard, to reduce deadly distractions in the first place.”

/Ends

Notes to editors:

Please contact news@brake.org.uk for a full regional breakdown.

[1] The figures refer to "CU80" endorsements which are a "breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, such as using a mobile phone". More information: https://www.gov.uk/penalty-points-endorsements/overview.

[2] Breakdown (by area) of drivers receiving six points for a CU80 offence (1 March to 30 June 2017) - top 5. Note: a total of 521 CU80 endorsements were issued in the period where the address of the driver was unknown. These are included in the total figures in the press release.

 

Area

March

April

May

June

Total

1

Greater London

1,336

330

343

177

2,186

2

Essex

225

98

134

123

580

3

West Midlands

176

86

62

48

372

4

Hampshire

195

48

61

44

348

5

Kent

157

58

59

34

308

[3] Breakdown (by area) of new drivers revoked under NDA on a CU80 offence (1 March to 30 June 2017) - top five

 

Area

March

April

May

June

Total

1

Greater London

29

4

6

-

39

2

West Midlands

4

2

3

3

12

3

Essex

5

2

2

1

10

=4

Greater Manchester

4

2

-

1

7

=4

Hampshire

5

2

-

-

7

=4

Shropshire

5

-

-

2

7

=5

Berkshire

1

2

1

2

6

=5

Surrey

5

1

-

-

6

[4] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2016, Department for Transport, 2017, Table RAS50001

The DVLA maintains a record of all GB fixed penalties and Court-ordered endorsements; the Agency has no responsibility or influence on Court-imposed sentences. The driving licence database changes constantly as the DVLA receives driving licence applications and other information that updates the records of individual drivers. Therefore, this data is a snapshot of the state of the record at the time of the request. There can be a delay between the notification of penalty points and of the sentence imposed by the Court.

The geographical breakdown of information is based on the postcode from the address of the driver currently held on record. Where, for example, a partial postcode is held, it has not been possible to determine a specific county and therefore this is recorded as ‘unknown’.

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.