The Transport Select Committee has called on the government to consider stricter enforcement of the law for those using mobile phones while driving, so that “entirely avoidable” deaths are prevented.
Recommendations have been detailed in the Committee’s report, Road safety: driving while using a mobile phone; the conclusions reveal that using a mobile phone or other device whilst driving impairs the ability to drive safely, therefore making a collision more likely.
Significantly, this is true regardless of using hands-free equipment or not.
The report says that using mobile phones on a hands-free device is lawful, but that this creates “the misleading impression that hands-free use is safe. The evidence shows that using a hands-free device creates the same risks of a collision as using a hand-held device, and it is therefore inappropriate for the law to condone it by omission.”
Action is clearly needed because recent studies have shown that road safety records in the UK have stagnated; the Transport Select Committee’s data shows that there were 773 casualties in 2017, including 43 deaths and 135 serious injuries in collisions where drivers using mobile phones were contributory factors.
As a result, the Committee believe that tougher enforcement is needed, given that, as Lilian Greenwood, Chair of the Transport Select Committee said, “far too many drivers continue to break the law by using hand-held mobile phones.”
She said that tougher restrictions are needed, and also made the point about lack of safety with using hands-free phones.
“There is a misleading impression that hands-free use is safe. The reality is that any use of a phone distracts from a driver’s ability to pay full attention and the government should consider extending a ban to reflect this.
“Each death and serious injury which results from a driver using a mobile phone is a tragedy that is entirely avoidable. We need tougher restrictions, better enforcement, and more education to make our roads safer for all.”