Toughen up on drivers using mobiles

A ROAD safety charity today claimed legislation on using hand-held mobile phones while driving needs to be enforced more strongly. Three years after the ban was brought in, a survey by Brake and breakdown service, Green Flag, found that drivers still show shockingly little respect for the law.

A ROAD safety charity today claimed legislation on using hand-held mobile phones while driving needs to be enforced more strongly.

Three years after the ban was brought in, a survey by Brake and breakdown service, Green Flag, found that drivers still show shockingly little respect for the law.

In October the Evening Star launched its Belt Up, Light Up and Shut Up campaign - to highlight the importance of putting mobile phones down when in the car.

And now recent research by Brake has shown more than one-third of drivers, 36 per cent, still admit to illegally using a hand-held mobile while driving, with one in seven, 15pc, doing so once a month or more often.

Mary Williams OBE, chief executive of Brake, said: “Driving is the most dangerous activity most of us do on a daily basis, and requires complete concentration.

“Mobile phones continue to cause deaths and injuries on our roads, and it is high time the government took steps to ensure the law is properly enforced.

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“It needs to extend the ban on using mobile phones while driving to reflect research which shows using a hands-free phone at the wheel can be equally deadly.”

The recent report showed six out of ten drivers, 61pc, thought they had a slim chance of being caught if they used their hand-held phones.

Incredibly the report showed that more than half, 54pc, of drivers are calling for a ban on using hands-free phones while driving as well as hand-held ones.

Despite the fact that drivers are still flouting the law, many say existing laws do not go far enough and hands-free mobile phones should also be banned. More than half (54%) of drivers are calling for a ban on using hands-free phones while driving, due to the dangers they pose.

Nigel Charlesworth, spokesperson for Green Flag, said: “We are surprised at the extent to which many motorists are still tempted to dial, text and take calls while driving - often at high speeds and in many cases driving heavy goods vehicles.”

Department for Transport statistics show 13 people were killed and more than 400 injured in crashes involving drivers using hand-held mobile phones in Britain in 2005.

N What do you think of people who use hand-held mobiles while driving? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk