MPs call for ban on drivers using hands-free phones

Hand-held devices are already banned while driving

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Drivers should not be able to use phones on hands-free mode, according to some MPs.

The Commons Transport Select Committee warned that current laws banning drivers from hand-held devices give a "misleading impression" that hands-free use is safe.

In its report, the committee found that using a hands-free device while driving creates the “same risks of a collision" as using a regular phone.

Committee chairwoman, Labour MP Lilian Greenwood said: “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."

The cross-party committee recommended that the government should publish a public consultation on the issue by the end of the year.

It acknowledged that there would be practical challenges to criminalising hands-free phone use and enforcing consequences, but insisted "this does not mean that we should not do it".

Ms Greenwood also said more effort needs to go into educating drivers.

"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.

She added: "Offenders also need to know there is a credible risk of being caught, and that there are serious consequences for being caught.”

In 2017, there were 773 crashes on Britain’s roads where a driver using a mobile was a contributory factor.

Since then, motorists caught using hand-held phones have received six points on their licence and a £200 fine - up from the previous penalty of three points and £100.

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