News from Brake
Tuesday, 13 August 2019
MPs have called on the Government to consider tougher restrictions on driving while using a mobile phone and stricter enforcement of the law to prevent the ‘entirely avoidable’ tragedy of deaths and serious injuries from related crashes on the roads
The calls come following the publication of the Transport Committee’s report on ‘road safety: driving whilst using a mobile phone.’ Following evidence being taken on the dangers of mobile phone use behind the wheel, Transport Committee MPs are calling on the Government to overhaul current laws on using hand-held mobile devices while driving, to cover use irrespective of whether this involves sending or receiving data. The Committee also recommends that Government explores options for extending the ban on hand-held devices to hands-free phones, as evidence shows that using a hands-free device creates the same risks of crashing.
The Committee’s report also calls on the Government to work with police to boost enforcement and make better use of technology; and review the penalties for using a hand-held mobile phone with a view to potentially increasing them so that it is clear there are serious consequences to being caught.
Road safety charity Brake has welcomed the Committee’s calls and is urging the Government to consider their recommendations as a priority.
Commenting, director of campaigns for Brake, Joshua Harris said:
"We welcome the calls from MPs in the Transport Committee to tackle the dangers of phone use behind the wheel. Using a phone whilst driving can impair you as much as driving drunk but stronger laws and tougher enforcement are needed to make it as culturally unacceptable as drink driving.
“The Government must clarify the law on using hand-held mobile devices while driving and close loopholes which treat sending or receiving data differently. The current law also provides a dangerous false impression that it is safe to use a mobile phone with a hands-free kit - it is not. All phone use behind the wheel is dangerous, and we need the law to reflect this by banning the use of hands-free devices. We echo MPs’ call for the Government to work with the police to boost enforcement and ensure there is a true deterrent to the menace of mobile phone use behind the wheel.
"With in-vehicle phones becoming more prevalent and the law unclear on hands-free phone use, drivers must take responsibility to resist distraction and concentrate on the operation of the task at hand - safe driving. When behind the wheel, one moment's inattention can result in catastrophic and lifelong consequences and no phone call or text can ever be worth that risk."