The UK’s biggest independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has welcomed the government’s decision to close a legal loophole which allowed drivers to not be prosecuted for using a mobile to film or take photos.
However, the new measures fall short of banning the use of hands-free mobile units in cars, something IAM RoadSmart and others have highlighted is just as distracting and dangerous as a hand-held unit.
Today (1 November) Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said there will be a review to tighten current laws on the use of hand-held mobile phones by drivers.
The Department for Transport announced that legislation will be revised so that any driver caught using a hand-held phone behind the wheel can be prosecuted whatever the reason; texting, taking pictures, surfing the web or scrolling for music. Spring 2020 is the likely date for implementation.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “The facts are there to see – the use of mobile phones for any purpose and in any manner while driving is distracting and potentially fatal.
“Today’s news is good, but not good enough. The increased penalties introduced in 2017, six points and a £200 fine, did change drivers’ behaviour for a while, but bad habits are creeping back in. Drivers keep doing it because they don’t think they will get caught, and they don’t appreciate they are risking lives.
“Mobile speed cameras need to be employed more broadly to also catch drivers using hand-held phones. Drivers need to know their actions could kill.”
Official figures state that in 2018 there were 683 casualties on Britain's roads including 29 deaths and 118 serious injuries in crashes where a driver using a mobile phone was a significant factor.
Notes to editors:
IAM RoadSmart press office – 020 8996 9777 – firstname.lastname@example.org
ISDN broadcast lines available
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/IAMRoadSmart
On Twitter: @IAMRoadSmart
IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.
To find out more about IAM RoadSmart products and services visit the new website www.iamroadsmart.com
To find out the name of your own local IAM RoadSmart group please visit: https://wwwiamroadsmart.com/local-groups