RAC comments on Transport Committee’s report on mobile phones

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “We welcome the committee’s report and its acknowledgement of the dangers of using a handheld mobile when driving. Many lives are needlessly lost by drivers having handheld phone conversations, texting and looking at, or even posting on social media when behind the wheel.

“The RAC’s research suggests that bad habits in relation to illegal phone use while driving are on the rise once more, with a quarter admitting to making or taking a call with a handheld phone and almost one in seven admitting to taking videos or phones while driving.

“We support the committee’s call for the Government to look more closely at the effectiveness of the increase of the penalties in 2017, and key to this is whether enforcement is adequate and whether the police have sufficient resources and technology to be able to crack down on this scourge. We also welcome calls to look at the clarity of current laws and strongly back the need for public education campaigns.

“Before outlawing hands-free phone use at the wheel we believe the Government should focus all its attention on enforcing the current law which has been in place since 2003 yet is still flouted on a daily basis by thousands of drivers. The falling number of roads police officers has clearly not helped the enforcement situation. This is why we feel the time has come to look at new technology capable of photographing offenders using their handheld phones while driving. If hands-free use were to be banned then it could arguably be even harder to catch drivers in the act than it is now.

“Drivers should also be aware that even if you are using a hands-free device, if you are not in proper control of the vehicle, then the police can take enforcement action.”

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