Transport Select Committee calls for mobile crackdown

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Published on 13 August 2019 by Mike Waters

MPs of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee have called on the government to consider “tougher restrictions on driving while using a mobile phone and stricter enforcement of the law”.

In a new report released today (August 13 2019), the Transport Committee highlights the risks of using mobile phones while on the roads and criticised a rate of enforcement of the existing laws, which it noted has “plunged by more than two thirds since 2011”.

It also noted that there were 773 casualties – of which 135 were serious injuries and 43 were deaths – in 2017 where a driver using a mobile phone was a contributory factor, and that the number of deaths and serious injuries under such circumstances has risen since 2011.

The committee also recommended that the government should explore extending the existing ban on hand-held devices to include hands-free systems as well after the determination that “evidence shows that using a hands-free device creates the same risks of crashing”.

Commenting, the committee’s chair Lilian Greenwood MP said: “Despite the real risk of catastrophic consequences for themselves, their passengers and other road users, far too many drivers continue to break the law by using hand-held mobile phones. 

“If mobile phone use while driving is to become as socially unacceptable as drink driving, much more effort needs to go into educating drivers about the risks and consequences of using a phone behind the wheel. Offenders also need to know there is a credible risk of being caught, and that there are serious consequences for being caught.

“There is also 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 the 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.”

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