Ban even hands-free phones at wheel, motoring group urges

13 Aug 2019

Ban even hands-free phones at wheel, motoring group urges

IAM RoadSmart is getting behind MPs' calls to ban even hands-free mobile phones behind the wheel, insisting they are a distraction and that the idea of being able to multi-task while driving is a myth.

The House of Commons Transport Committee released a report today (August 13th 2019) entitled Road Safety: Driving While Using a Mobile Phone, which focused on the use of devices that are hands-free.

In it, MPs said they want tougher restrictions on usage, more enforcement and better education on how looking at a phone can pose a serious risk to road users.

"Using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous, with potentially catastrophic consequences," the report warns.

Indeed, official statistics show there were 773 casualties in 2017 where a driver using a mobile phone was a contributing factor, including 43 deaths.

The number of people killed or seriously injured on Britain's roads has been rising steadily since 2011, but figures also show the rate of enforcement has dropped by more than two-thirds during the same period.

Although motorists caught using a phone at the wheel should face six points on their driving licence and a £200 fine, IAM RoadSmart says it believes current police numbers mean drivers feel they are unlikely to be caught.

Director of policy and research Neil Greig said: "Clarifying the law so that any use of a phone that involves holding it or placing in the driver's lap is made illegal should be a top government priority. We would support the legislative change to ban hands-free to match hand-held."

However, he added that new laws will only work if the fear of getting caught is increased through more high-profile policing and the ability to prosecute on-the-spot.

This news comes just a week after a survey of more than 2,000 UK adults by Kwik Fit found 2.7 million motorists have had a collision or veered off the road in the past two years because they were looking at their phone.