New mobile phone legislation
New legislation to tighten up mobile phone loophole is good, but not good enough, say IAM RoadSmart
The UK's biggest independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has welcomed the government's decision to close a legal loophole which allowed drivers to not be prosecuted for using a mobile to film or take photos.
However, the new measures fall short of banning the use of hands-free mobile units in cars, something IAM RoadSmart and others have highlighted is just as distracting and dangerous as a hand-held unit.
Today (1 November) Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said there will be a review to tighten current laws on the use of hand-held mobile phones by drivers.
The Department for Transport announced that legislation will be revised so that any driver caught using a hand-held phone behind the wheel can be prosecuted whatever the reason; texting, taking pictures, surfing the web or scrolling for music. Spring 2020 is the likely date for implementation.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: "The facts are there to see – the use of mobile phones for any purpose and in any manner while driving is distracting and potentially fatal.
"Today's news is good, but not good enough. The increased penalties introduced in 2017, six points and a £200 fine, did change drivers' behaviour for a while, but bad habits are creeping back in. Drivers keep doing it because they don't think they will get caught, and they don't appreciate they are risking lives.
"Mobile speed cameras need to be employed more broadly to also catch drivers using hand-held phones. Drivers need to know their actions could kill."
Official figures state that in 2018 there were 683 casualties on Britain's roads including 29 deaths and 118 serious injuries in crashes where a driver using a mobile phone was a significant factor.