Report calls for ban on phones to be extended to hands-free calling, as well as tougher penalties and enforcement

Mobile phone use behind the wheel should be banned entirely, according to the Transport Committee.

In a new report, the group of MPs called on the government to extend the ban on hand-held devices to hands-free ones, stating that “evidence shows that using a hands-free device creates the same risks of crashing”.

It also says that all phone use while driving, irrespective of whether it involves sending or receiving data, should be stopped.

Throughout the UK in 2017, 773 casualties, including 43 deaths and 135 serious injuries, were caused by collisions in which a driver using a mobile phone was a contributory factor. The number of people killed or seriously injured in such incidents has risen steadily since 2011.

The committee also called for tougher enforcement, stating that the rate of prosecutions has plunged by more than two-thirds since 2011. It said the government should work with police to “boost enforcement and make better use of technology”.

The penalty for using a hand-held phone while driving was increased in 2017 to an automatic fixed penalty notice including a £200 fine and six penalty points.

However, the committee said these penalties “still do not appear to be commensurate with the risk created and should be reviewed and potentially increased so that it is clear there are serious consequences to being caught”.

Committee 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.

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“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.”

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Comments
31

13 August 2019

Banning hands free, are they referring to telephone calls or useage of the phone? The new up! for example has a phone bracket where the old Garmin satnav/media player/ Bluetooth phone device was. So now you interact with your telephone, many people use their phones on a bracket and use Google maps for satnav use and also use their phone for their music either streaming services like Apple music or playing downloaded stuff. Surely this sort of usage is no different to interacting with the cars own touchscreen display for media, navigation phone calls etc? And is talking hands free any more distracting than talking to people in the car or squabbling kids in the back? 

13 August 2019

They're talking about using phones FULL STOP, article on Radio 5 this morning. Touch screens are far more of distraction so they should be banned first!!!

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

289

13 August 2019

Spot on xxxx......Touch screens are highly distracting.

Smoking is another one...the whole process of lighting a cigarette on the move, reduced grip of the steering wheel, flicking ash and worse disposing of it (usually into the grille of the following car is just crazy, and this doesnt even begin to address the danger of a crashed car with a burning cigarette lying somewhere in the remains!!

Satnav shouldnt be possible to set or altered on the move either, (Waze for example doesnt allow this), surely the same tech could be applied to mobile phones to stop calling/texting whilst on the move....problem solved in one hit. Fact is the service providers dont want to take the financial hit ....so commercialism again comes before the value of human life.

Personally I dont believe that taking an incoming call is any more dangerous (in hands free mode) than talking/arguing with your family in the car....and that is never going to change, but I would never condone texting, reading mails, making an outgoing call whilst on the move. Problem is who is going to police this.....there are way too few Police on the road now so the only time they are likely to catch you is when you are stationary in a traffice jam - ironically when you are least likely to kill someone! Hence the idea of motion sensor blocking device being the simplest way to  solve the issue in one hit.

13 August 2019
xxxx wrote:

Touch screens are far more of distraction so they should be banned first!!!

Agree with this

13 August 2019
Bob Cat Brian wrote:

xxxx wrote:

Touch screens are far more of distraction so they should be banned first!!!

Agree with this

Steam cars are due a revival.

13 August 2019
si73 wrote:

Banning hands free, are they referring to telephone calls or useage of the phone? The new up! for example has a phone bracket where the old Garmin satnav/media player/ Bluetooth phone device was. So now you interact with your telephone, many people use their phones on a bracket and use Google maps for satnav use and also use their phone for their music either streaming services like Apple music or playing downloaded stuff. Surely this sort of usage is no different to interacting with the cars own touchscreen display for media, navigation phone calls etc? And is talking hands free any more distracting than talking to people in the car or squabbling kids in the back? 

The current law actually covers using a hand held device while it sends and/or receives data.  The law was drafted at a time when phones did very little compared to what they can do now.  As it stands, someone using a phone to create a video, or take photos, cannot be prosecuted under the current law (they could be prosecuted for driving without due care, but it is a lesser offence and doesn't deal with habitual handset use).  The new proposal is intended to encapsulate that, but is NOT intended to cover the use of a handset as sat-nav, for example, so long as it remains cradled.

Framing the debate about use of a phone with a lot of whataboutery is utterly pointless.  Conversation with someone else in the car?  They can see what you are doing so understand the context of a pause, for example, and you, as the driver, don't feel compelled to contiune to talk or have your concentration elsewhere.  

Squabling kids?  If one's squabling offspring are distacting such that it leads to an accident, be assured you will be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.  At least.  Ditto all the other "points" that people make that can generally be headed under whataboutery.

This is such a simple thing, but so many seem to struggle with it.  Bizarre.

13 August 2019
The Colonel wrote:

Framing the debate about use of a phone with a lot of whataboutery is utterly pointless.  Conversation with someone else in the car?  They can see what you are doing so understand the context of a pause, for example, and you, as the driver, don't feel compelled to contiune to talk or have your concentration elsewhere. 

Spot on. The most relevant point, full stop.

13 August 2019
The Colonel wrote:

si73 wrote:

Banning hands free, are they referring to telephone calls or useage of the phone? The new up! for example has a phone bracket where the old Garmin satnav/media player/ Bluetooth phone device was. So now you interact with your telephone, many people use their phones on a bracket and use Google maps for satnav use and also use their phone for their music either streaming services like Apple music or playing downloaded stuff. Surely this sort of usage is no different to interacting with the cars own touchscreen display for media, navigation phone calls etc? And is talking hands free any more distracting than talking to people in the car or squabbling kids in the back? 

The current law actually covers using a hand held device while it sends and/or receives data.  The law was drafted at a time when phones did very little compared to what they can do now.  As it stands, someone using a phone to create a video, or take photos, cannot be prosecuted under the current law (they could be prosecuted for driving without due care, but it is a lesser offence and doesn't deal with habitual handset use).  The new proposal is intended to encapsulate that, but is NOT intended to cover the use of a handset as sat-nav, for example, so long as it remains cradled.

Framing the debate about use of a phone with a lot of whataboutery is utterly pointless.  Conversation with someone else in the car?  They can see what you are doing so understand the context of a pause, for example, and you, as the driver, don't feel compelled to contiune to talk or have your concentration elsewhere.  

Squabling kids?  If one's squabling offspring are distacting such that it leads to an accident, be assured you will be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.  At least.  Ditto all the other "points" that people make that can generally be headed under whataboutery.

This is such a simple thing, but so many seem to struggle with it.  Bizarre.

There was no whataboutery in my question, it was asking for clarification of what is proposed as like I said mobiles are interacted with in the same way as other touch screen car devices. I asked as I didn't know.

13 August 2019
si73 wrote:

Banning hands free, are they referring to telephone calls or useage of the phone? The new up! for example has a phone bracket where the old Garmin satnav/media player/ Bluetooth phone device was. So now you interact with your telephone, many people use their phones on a bracket and use Google maps for satnav use and also use their phone for their music either streaming services like Apple music or playing downloaded stuff. Surely this sort of usage is no different to interacting with the cars own touchscreen display for media, navigation phone calls etc? And is talking hands free any more distracting than talking to people in the car or squabbling kids in the back? 

They absolutely want to ban all those things - but what they're really chasing is banning driving altogether.

Automated taxis, that's what cars are due to become!

Madness, and for those into their bangernomics - HUGELY more expensive than current motoring.

.....and of course, there's the personal freedoms to be compromised - what happens when a government decides some people they don't like the look of shouldn't be allowed to use robotaxis?

13 August 2019
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