Rebecca Needham, Road Safety Officer for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said:
RoSPA welcomes the announcement by the Government on the ban on using handheld mobile phones for any purpose whilst driving.
Drivers holding their phone are gambling with their own lives and the safety of others – as they are four times more likely to crash *. In 2020, there were 368 collisions of all severities where use of a mobile phone was a contributory factor.
The 2003 legislation, which initially banned mobile phone use while driving, was brought into being before the age of the smartphone. There is now a considerable number of potential distractions, such as mobile phones and infotainment systems, which can divert the driver’s attention away from the road.
Today’s announcement ** further underscores the importance of clear and enforceable penalties for distracted drivers, this will help change the belief that holding a phone is consequence free. Using a mobile phone behind the wheel has been shown to reflect a deep-seated and irresponsible attitude rather than an in the moment reaction.
For more than a century RoSPA has been at the forefront of making our roads safer, having campaigned for changes in the law to make wearing a seatbelt in a moving vehicle mandatory, drink-driving illegal and more recently banning the use of handheld mobile phones while driving.
To read more about RoSPA’s position on mobile phone use whilst driving head here: https://www.rospa.com/media/documents/road-safety/consultation-responses/RoSPA-response-to-DfT-mobile-phone-consultation.pdf
* WHO ‘Mobile phone use: a growing problem of driver distraction’
** Ipsos MORI & DfT (2021) ‘Research on the use of mobile phones while driving’