Campaign calling for ban on hands-free mobile launched

  • Companies urged to ban phone use completely including hands-free
  • Campaign supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers
  • New research reveals extent of driver distraction on UK roads

A national campaign has kicked off this week which calls on UK companies to ban the use of hands-free mobile phone use in company cars.

The campaign coincides with the annual Road Safety Week event, which starts today, organised by road safety charity Brake.

The charity is urging more employers to ban all phone use (including hands-free) for employees driving on company time and to tell staff to end calls with anyone who picks up while driving.

Brake, along with partners Specsavers and Romex, has also revealed new statistics surrounding the extent of driver distraction on UK roads.

Some of the key findings include:

  • More than half a million UK drivers (575,000) have points on their licence for using their mobile phone at the wheel or being otherwise distracted.
  • One in 15 (6.5%) of these drivers have six points or more for driving distracted and four in five (78%) are male.
  • Six in ten children (62%) report being driven by a driver talking on a phone and nearly eight in 10 have spotted drivers on mobile phones outside their school or home

The campaign is being supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers, who is coordinating a week-long campaign of heightened police enforcement across the country targeting drivers on hand-held phones.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, 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. While there are enormous business benefits to this technology, it's also posing dangerous temptations to drivers to divert their concentration away from the critical task at hand, often putting our most vulnerable road users in danger. "

According to Brake, around one in five crashes could be caused, at least in part, by driver distraction and drivers who perform a secondary task at the wheel are two to three times more likely to crash.

The campaign is being launched almost a decade after the use of hand-held mobiles were banned.

As it stands at the moment, drivers caught using a hand-held phone at the wheel to call or text face a (recently increased) fixed penalty notice of £100 and three points, or may be offered a course instead of taking points.

In 2012, more than 10,000 drivers caught using their phone at the wheel took a ‘what's driving us' awareness course, instead of opting for points.

Using your mobile while driving could even result in disqualification, imprisonment and a fine of up to £1,000.

What do you think?