Drivers urged to put down the phone for good

3rd December 2013

The problem of mobile phone usage while behind the wheel has been a constant issue for motorists and the police for the last decade, since the law banning their use while driving was passed.

Hands-free kits have become more prominent as they allow motorists to make phone calls while driving, however, a new campaign launched by Brake and backed by GEM Motoring Assist has urged people to put their phones in the boot before getting into the car.

Statistics from the government show that reaction times of mobile phone users are up to 50 per cent slower than those not using one and that mobile users are four times more likely to crash if they use a phone behind the wheel.

Research conducted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) revealed that those conducting a call on a hand-held or hands-free devices can fail to spot road signs, feel more stressed when driving and are much less aware of what is going on around them on the roads.

Further evidence suggests that motorists using devices while behind the wheel fail to maintain lane position and a steady speed, react more slowly to situations taking place in front of them and are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic.

Mobile phones are an indispensable part of many people's days and can be vital should a breakdown occur, so should be carried within the vehicle in case of an emergency. However, the campaign is attempting to promote storage of mobile phones in the boot of a vehicle.

David Williams MBE, chief executive of GEM Motoring Assist, said it is time for legislation covering this area of driving to be taken seriously.

"The volunteers in our ‘Kill the conversation’ road safety video were all surprised to discover just how dangerous it can be to call or text while driving, which is why we are advising all motorists to turn their phone off when at the wheel to avoid any distraction. Surely no call is as important as the safety of yourself and others while on the road.”