Drivers are being called on to completely avoid using their mobile phones while driving, including on hands-free systems.
The road safety charity Brake is campaigning with the support of the Association of Chief Police Officers for drivers to switch off their mobile phones when in the car or put them in the boot to prevent crashes occurring due to people multitasking while at the wheel.
As part of its Road Safety Week, Brake is also calling on the government to increase fines for using a mobile phone at the wheel and ban using hands-free systems when driving.
According to statistics from Brake, Specsavers and Romex, over half a million drivers in the UK have points on their license because they used their mobile phone or because they were distracted. Of these, one in 15 have six points or more for being distracted while driving.
Studies suggest that multitasking behind the wheel can increase reaction times and reduce hazard perception in the same way that drink driving does and 98 per cent of drivers are unable to divide their time without their performance being affected.
Deputy chief executive of Brake Julie Townsend said: "We're living in an age when being constantly connected is the norm; more and more of us have smartphones, and find it hard to switch off, even for a minute … Many people who wouldn't dream of drink-driving are succumbing to using their phone and other distractions while driving, oblivious that the effect can be similar and the consequences just as horrific."
It is against the law to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving and car users can incur three points on their license and a £60 fine if they are seen doing this. Additionally, they can face prosecution for careless driving or dangerous driving if there is a crash while they are using their phone.
Currently, using hands-free systems is legal but if a the driver is not seen to be in control of their vehicle then they can still be prosecuted.
- On: 25 November 2013
- By: CarShop
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