UK-based road safety charity Brake is asking drivers to forget about hands-free calls and switch off their mobile phones completely. Its new campaign, which has been launched at the start of the charity’s Road Safety Week, comes ten years after the use of hand-held mobiles whilst driving was explicitly banned.
Brake is also pointing out that 575,000 UK drivers have points on their licence for using their mobile phone at the wheel or being otherwise distracted when driving, noting that 78% are male.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of 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 benefits to this new 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. 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. We’re calling on UK drivers to tune into road safety: turn off your phone or put it in the boot, and never try to multi-task at the wheel. We’re also appealing to everyone to refuse to chat to someone on the phone who’s driving, to help them arrive safely.”
As well as asking for higher fines, Brake is calling on the government to extend its hand-held phone ban to include hands-free phones at as well.
Drivers caught using a hand-held phone when driving currently face a £100 penalty and three points on their driving licence.