The need to improve road safety has been put into sharp focus with the latest National Travel Survey revealing one in four people believe it is safe to use a mobile phone behind the wheel in stationary traffic.
Published by the Department for Transport (DfT), the National Travel Survey shows that more work is needed to reinforce the message that using mobile phones whilst driving is dangerous.
The National Travel Survey also highlighted that 62% acknowledge using a mobile phone – even with hands-free kit – is dangerous.
However, the news that 25% say it is safe in stationary traffic ought to cause consternation for those who are trying to eradicate deaths and serious injuries from road collisions.
The government is serious on improving road safety, and regional transport bodies such as Transport for London (TfL) are pushing the Vision Zero commitment, to encourage safer behaviours and use of technology on vehicles to ensure that collisions are eradicated by 2041; it’s an approach Brake has urged the government to adopt.
Given the results in the survey, it has confirmed to the road safety charity that the message is not getting through to the level that is required.
As such, the charity is calling for a ban on all mobile phone use whilst driving – hands-free or otherwise.
This, they feel, will hammer home the nature of the danger to drivers, as research has shown that even hands-free phone usage is dangerous, impairing drivers who are distracted by the call.
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 moment’s inattention to result in devastating consequences.
“We 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.”