Someone using a mobile phone behind the wheel is four more times more likely to crash yet statistics show mobile phone use being a factor in collisions has actually risen every year since 2017. MPs warn that the current regulations make it seem like hands-free driving is safe, whereas they say it has the same risk as actually holding the phone.
Now, MPs from a cross-party group are calling for all hands-free use to be banned and for the current legislation to be reviewed, taking into account new technologies and it being socially acceptable in some circles to decrease use and increase the social stigma around it to try and deter more people.
What’s the case?
Ever since the increase in technology and the percentage of the population that own a mobile phone (94% in 2017, up from 82% in 2005) has also risen drastically.
Alongside that 25% of motorists admit to making a call or texting behind the wheel, with that rising to 39% when doing so while the engine is idling. The annual RAC report on motoring showed no decline from 2017 to 2018, even though a stricter penalty of £200 and six points was introduced.
For someone in their first two years of driving, this would mean an immediate licence removal and they would have to retake their test.
The penalty for using a phone was doubled back in March 2017 but Road Traffic Officer (RTO) numbers have decreased leading to fewer people going to the High Court over such matters. In the cross-party government report, the RAC cited a study that said in the years before 10 years to 2017, the number of full-time road traffic officers in England and Wales fell by almost a third from 3,766 to 2,643. The number of offences for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving that resulted in a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), driver retraining or court action fell by over 30% between 2016 and 2017 and has been falling steadily for the past six years—by more than two thirds since 2011.
In order for a law to be effective, it must be enforced and the above stats show it isn’t at the minute. The previous minister for Road Safety, MP Michael Ellis requested a review into RTOs and how technology may be able to increase their effectiveness.
Near our offices in Aldershot, we have what has been affectionately nicknamed “vulture cameras” along the A3 which can detect eating, mobile phone use and the driver and passenger not wearing seat belts behind the wheel. These could potentially be used across the country to automatically detect such offences.
But what would an outright ban on hands-free use behind the wheel mean for mobile workers such as mobile repair technicians, taxi drivers and others who rely on their cars as their job.
The BBC spoke to Kelvin Hardy who repairs, inspects and maintains incinerators across the country. He said “I use a hands-free phone with voice recognition and I have to have one. I could get a call out to a job and then get another call telling me I’m not needed. Being able to take that call can save a wasted journey. I’m not a big business, it’s only me involved. If you have a secretary taking calls it might be fine, but I don’t have that. [If the ban happened] I’d have to stop every hour on the motorway.”
“For me it’s all about responsibility. You don’t have to take a call. I don’t pick up calls if I’m surrounded by lorries or there’s heavy rain. It’s about not being distracted. I see some horrendous driving on the roads that no one seems to bother about.”
This also comes into play with in-car entertainment systems. Where is the line drawn here as some could argue this is a form of handsfree and therefore should be banned, effectively rendering millions of cars illegal. Does this then also mean all other distractions should be banned? Noisy children, arguing over directions with the passenger, music of any kind, other noises, in fact, could we not ban roads near historical monuments in order to prevent driver distraction?
This does open a can of worms on distracted driving. We as a society have a decreased attention span and are becoming more and more distracted. Could this be the start of an automation switch into cars that are intelligent and reduce the risk of human accident? Or could this be the start of an anti-mobile revolution where people start going back to smaller more basic phones?
Facebook’s user base has declined 15 million since 2017, and people are turning against the ever-connected world. But how far will this go?
What do you think of this ban? Would it affect your work? How far will the distracted driving go? Let us know below
Having listened to that wet Jeremy Vine BBCR2 programme discussing just this I heard an advocate of the phone call ban suggest passengers take into account the traffic situation. Do children do that? Do those with learning difficulties do that? Do those with behaviour maladies do that?
Assuming passengers know how to drive and converse circumspectly is just plain idiocy. There is no difference if it is a phone call. The issue is that the majority nowadays do not take driving seriously. Fashionistas pose. Socialites drivel/tweet/talk rubbish. Hostiles argue. Academics discuss. Unintrested people want autonomous cars presumably because they have better things to do than concentrate on driving well.
The car is no longer a serious conveyance used for travelling/recreation/enjoyment. It is a fashion accessory for many and a communication device which rivals unSMART phones. It has been developed as such because that is what appeals to most. Only a minority are interested in driving standards and the feeling of freedom they may get. The car is simply too accessible for too many and modern lifestyles are a major part too.
It is little wonder that this matter has come about.
This is what happens when lunatics run the asylum.
I quite agree with everything you have said.
Certain people (an alarmingly high number) still text and talk when driving NOT using ”hands free” even, so until this stops it is almost pointless attempting to apply more restrictions as they will be just ignored by these inconsiderate poseurs.
If you ban hands free then no one will take any notice of the law and use non-hands free phones.
capture technology is improving at a rapid rate, also others drivers dashcam footage can now be uploaded and is over 50% viewed by police forces. So just need to increase the penalties , maybe direct ban, and treat it like drink driving and it will soon stop all phone calls with driver
But will the ban include your dash cam? Also sat nav
Yes how far do you take it. Not using the sat nav would mean map reading when driving and that’s safe?
In all my years of driving, I have never read a map whilst moving. I plan my route and if I have gone wrong somewhere, I pull over when able to do so then look at the map. It’s not hard.
That’s what we did in the good old days before all these in car toys, it wasn’t any problem.
exactly as most dash cams show the picture whilst on should this not be banned as well as this is a distraction
I have a dashcam and you can turn the screen off, and it records in the background, it turns on when I start the car and turns of when I turn of the ignition.
so how can you tell off a dash cam when someone is on a hands free and not just singing or talking to a passenger?
The answer to poor policing of the current hands free law, isn’t more laws… but ‘better policing of the existing laws’.
Bravo. Well said.
Best comment here. Well said.
I agree it would be better to ban MP’s look at the brext problems they have caused
Perhaps we could ban MP’s instead?
Spot on. Driving needs to be taken seriously, and until we effectively get rid of Drink or Drug driving, then using a hands free phone pales into insignificance. Texts and other things that need the eyes to be taken off the road need to be tackled first, and there is no point making draconian bans on everything if there is no effective Policing to deal with in hand use. The whole discussion is a distraction from improving the standard of driving and attitude of drivers as a whole.
So talking is distracting then. As you are talking to someone with both hands on the wheel. So what next? No talking to passengers. No music? It’s all noise. Ridiculous.
There is a huge difference between talking on the phone and talking to a passenger. When talking on the phone, your mind goes off to another place and concentration is completely changed.
Talking to a passenger could be just as distracting as having a hands free conversation, more so I think. As the passenger is sitting next to you or behind you, and it’s only human nature to be looking at the person you’re talking to, rather than looking at the road.
Not for a serious and engaged driver, over 40 years behind the wheel and if conversation is needed I don’t look at the person but continue watching the road. Your statement marks the difference between a driver and vehicle operator. Roads are full of disengaged operators that pass a test and neverseek to improve this skill or even keep up to date with current rules and regs.
No it’s not. Just keep your eyes on the road it doesn’t effect their hearing.
I find it infuriating while in a 20mph zone trying to keep to the limit while keeping an eye on the speedo. 20mph because of pedestrians more sense to me to be looking at the surrondings than the speedo
Yours might, in which case I suggest you don’t use a phone at all in the car. Mine doesn’t.
Rubbish Cathy. When I’m talking to someone hands free if I come to a busy part of the road and I need to concentrate more I tell them and ask them to wait a second while I’ve negotiated the busy part. Simples. If your mind goes to another place talking on the phone you need to get off the road. Don’t judge other people. These MP’s shouldn’t be judge and jury either. People having accidents on hands free possibly would have had an accident anyway. They could also be lying to police and may have had the phone in their hand unless the police could prove otherwise. They can tell they made a call but proving hands free may be a different matter. Who knows?
I agree entirely. If on a hands fee call at a difficult moment it is quite easy to say “hang on a minute”. Just the same if a passenger keeps talking. Tell them to just wait a minute. It is about being in control at all times. If the person on the other end won’t comply then easy to say will ring you back later.
Surely instinct makes you look at the person your talking to, so isn’t talking to a passenger more dangerous than looking ahead and talking.
Not if you are a conscious driver who takes it seriously!
and it doesn’t when you are talking to a passenger, the bigger issue is texting and using a hand held, taking your eyes off the road is more dangerous than just talking, and who says that people don’t day dream whilst driving, how are you going to police that
You don’t seem to have any imaginative or improve passengers!
With the stats of people being caught falling, does it not mean less people doing it? Nothing to do with less police. Would also mean the police wouldn’t be able to use their radios etc while they drive one up.
Stats not always right I am on motorway and other roads with my job as a recovery driver and watch people driving all day. People using mobile phones reading txts is not reducing but not being caught. I think if you are caught automatic ban. If you use the roads like I do you will see driving is poor it must be easy to get a licence government trying to bring in restrictions on new drivers . Answer restrict the size of engine cc they can pass a test and put a time like 18 months to 2 years to get experience before getting a bigger car also no motorway before doing a test.
Don’t forget our MP’s are the experts and know what’s best for us. Maybe single seater cars would be a good idea?
Perhpas like MPs everyone should be provided with taxpayer-funded taxis. That should solve the problem.
MPs know best? Agree. Ironically they introduced operating sat navs as part of driving test (albeit setting destination whilst stationary) but is a sat nav always an aid or could it be a distraction in certain instances?
I think legislation is a bit contradictory. That is a reason why many people adopt the attitude that they know better.
Let’s point out also that a lot of MP’s have chauffeurs so won’t have an affect on them will it.
Some only (Ministers). Most don’t.
Mercedes F1 for me 😉
Spot on. Did any of you here the traffic cop say emergency services had to be excempt, but that was OK because they were “specially trained”? Really? He also said they’d knw if someone was using a handfreee device just by looking at them. I assume he means he’d say they were apparantly talking. Don’t know about you by I talk to myself sometimes on a long drive and I certainly sing – so I’d best be prepared to get pulled over multiple times?
Having driven high mileages in my working life, averaging approx. 90,000 miles a year and totaling over 1.5 million miles, with no accidents, I feel that I have a little knowledge, regarding bad, dangerous, inconsiderate drivers. Back in the ‘dark ages’ before we had mobile phones etc. and there was no communications other than carrier pigeon, the ‘accidents’ which I witnessed were down to fag puffers, food eaters, drunks and sheer bad drivers, with the majority down to bad driving, not accidents.
As more and more drivers acquired the early mobile phones, driving standards noticeably deteriorated and has subsequently got worse with the so called ‘hands free’.
Unfortunately you still require brain power to talk and think about the conversation your having, which is a distraction from the main thing when driving a vehicle, which is full concentration on all the things happening around you and control of the vehicle.
As some drivers are unable to physically and mentally to detach themselves from using their mobile phones whilst driving, breaking the law should have more sever consequences, possibly impounding the vehicle or crushing it together with a 5 year driving ban and retest.
I think the M.P. have a vested interest in not altering the present arrangement as some of them have been caught out.
Until people are taught how to drive and not how to pass the test, we will always have a majority of bad drivers with bad habits.
What’s the difference between talking to someone on a hands-free device and the person sitting next to the driver in the front passenger seat? Do we therefore ban talking altogether?
One of the biggest distractions is sneezing therefore, I propose anyone with hayfever or a cold is banned from driving. I have hayfever and cold – I’m turning myself in right now.
This is so True I often wonder why its always on a roundabout i need to sneeze? Have you ever tried to keep your eyes open on a sneeze….
If you close one eye before sneezing the other eye stays open :-))
No your eyes will pop out
True! Another distraction for the hard-done-by driver!!
Have you tried running your tongue along the roof of your mouth when you feel it coming on works for me
Are we still talking about sneezing ?
I suggest you may be one of the people I term a numpy
Drivers are not all the same some are better than others the best drivers In my opinion are the ones who concentrate all the tlme and think ahead these people will be the safest drivers as for the ones who think they are good enough to take their eyes off the road for long enough to text should be banned for life as they could easily cause death to others they just need to think first.
Ah yes the Multitaskers; They have nil concentration & the attention span of a gnat,
believing they are smarter & quicker that anyone else, they are the ones that everyone else has to compensate & watch out for.
They are on the edge all the time with no foresight or awareness of the safety of those around them.
So right I have to work with one lol!
I agree with your comment!
Would banning them make any difference. Watching the various police reality shows, they are always booking the same people for driving while banned/no licence/no insurance/no MOT, and not just in UK
This is what I thought when I heard about the suggestion of banning phones altogether in the car. What difference indeed to having a conversation, or as others have said, listening to music, an audiobook, or perhaps learning a language whilst you travel? And again, as others have pointed out, there are many other potential distractions faced by drivers – would MPs ban children? Pets? Those with learning difficulties or other mental conditions who may not understand the importance of not distracting a driver?
Not sure I’d be comfortable with someone driving a car that has a mental condition.
I’ve never owned a car with a mental condition. Metal condition yes!
My son has learning disabilities. You’re proposing he shouldn’t be allowed in a vehicle?
If you taught him to drive he would be as safer a driver than some nutcases on the road today.
And how about all those distracting neon advertising hoardings along the motorways. It’s almost impossible NOT to look at them.
World of difference as the radio turns off immediately and does not wonder why you turned it off, passengers may see that road is busy etc etc when you suddenly cease chatting, but the person on the other end of the phone has no clue and will likely continue chatting and thus further distracting you.
My radio doesn’t turn off immediately; yours must be pretty smart!. Most passengers don’t care and won’t shut up. If I’m on the phone I just say ‘hang on’ and carry on when it’s safe to do so. Bad drivers will have accidents whatever you legislate and good drivers will take care. it’s Human nature and I’m fed up with people telling me what I can and can’t do.
Well said David. In total agreement and I do exactly the same, tell them to hang on. These MP’s need to keep out of it. I bet they’ve all used hands free themselves.
If you are a person that does this you should know not to answer the call. My hands free tells and records who called . You can always call back when safe.
That is down to the driver just to tell the person on the other end of the phone John. It’s not rocket science. If I come to a busy roundabout for example I’ll just say “hold on, it’s a bit busy here”. It’s that simple.
The dynamics of chatting and talking to someone on the phone are a world apart
Totally agree, spot on.
They may be for you in which case I recommend you don’t phone while driving. They aren’t for me.
@MR JONATHAN TRACY how do you know that your driving is unaffected by having a phone conversation? Has someone followed you whilst you were driving and talking on the phone and fed back to you how you drove?
Remote distraction is not the same as someone sat in the car seeing the same as the driver & taking account of it. It is important that we get the balance right, but one thing that terrifies me every time it happens is someone sat on my rear bumper with a mobile phone in their hand texting, dialling or chatting. I find myself gently slowing down until they look up & see me watching them. If a get the opportunity I pull in or turn left just to get rid. They should loose their licence, points don’t cut it. Ban them on the spot. Arrest them for driving without due care and attention.
If you have evidence of a traffic violation such as using a phone while driving on a dash camera recording, this can be submitted to the local police force and if serious enough action may be taken. I have front and rear cameras. You could fit the same. Unless the crime is evidenced the culprit cannot be dealt with. The declining number of mobile police officers means Jo Public now need to be their eyes.
I wonder if you can send in recordings from your mobile phone while waiting for bus?
I know you can now upload video files from dashcams via the online nextbase portal and they go direct to the police for assessment (and they do act where viable), you may well be able to send mobile video files also, give it a look and see
Yes, you can.
The problem there is the time wasted trying to get answered on “101”.
While I am typing this I have (so far) spent 25 minutes (of my working time) waiting foe the police to answer my call about a “Threatening phone call” No good enough 🙁
Oh dear! I’ve just re-read 1984 and I’m really scared. Stay in bed mate!
Yes 1984 is here. Bullying is totally frowned upon, but who is it learnt from – THE GOVERNMENT,
If you’ve got a crash camera and catch them on film report them@
Sorry, but the passenger never sees completely what the driver is seeing. They look away and then looking forward and see a snapshot of what the driver has been concentrating on.
It depends on the person in the car – you can’t assume all of them are responsible able to make reasoned decisions about when and when not to talk. My three year old doesn’t stop talking yet or crying when the road is busy so it makes easier for me to concentrate.
Can you afford the divorce? If you do not immediately supply an long, carefully conceived erudite reply to the passenger you could well be in trouble. Of course there are those who have promised the passenger a flogging if that person speaks which might just be the next thing from some faceless Whitehall erk
How would this work for bus drivers? They carry squabbling loud passengers and screaming children.
Bus drivers are exempt. They put up with enough as it is.
I haven’t seen a bus driver use a mobile phone.
Yes he has a radio. But they can take a message as they stop frequently at the bus stop Unlike your car driver who is just intent on getting himself about. That person won’t even be wearing a seat belt!!!
I agree that I haven’t seen a bus driver using a mobile phone whilst driving but about every other taxi driver I see is holding a hand held mobile whilst driving (despite having a radio) and I also frequently see the police officer in the driving seat using his shoulder mounted phone/radio, which involves him pressing a button (so effectively hand held). What about them?
Have checked the numbers quoted for this. Apparently total number of deaths where any form of mobile phone use is A FACTOR (not the cause) was 43 in 2017 out of 775 total road deaths and that’s all mobile phones, not just handsfree ones.
How many lives are saved in 2017 because someone could make a handsfree call? bet it’d be way more than 43. I had one instance a few years ago where there was an unlit accident on the 3rd lane of the M6 at night, completely invisble until you passed it which I did, fortunately. I was able to call 999 handsfree and report it. Unreported, this would have been a 70mph to zero shunt, definite killer, just a question of how many. No hands free kit, no phone, no 999 call. That’s just 1 example.
Using their theory, you could ban ambulances too, they sometimes kill people in accident, especially the occupants, but of course they save a lot too, just that it’s documented whereas lives saved by handsfree use isn’t.
These MP’s really should be fired as unfit for purpose or start spending our taxpaying money on how to reduce the other 732 fatal accidents where the driver wasn’t using a mobile phone. Also, unless the 43 number is broken down into handheld and handsfree it’s a worthless arguement anyway
Drivers can be distracted by anything if they choose not to concentrate on the actual driving. Stopping the rest of the planet from being able to do something without being distracted is not the answer whether it’s a handfree phone, kids in the back, passengers, sat nav, radio, smoking, eating, daydreaming etc etc. It’s the allowing themselves to get distracted that needs to stop, probably from driving altogether as they must have a problem with concentration.
Best post on here. 👏
You certainly bring a good argument to the table, I can’t find anything wrong with it!
Good to see some straightforward common sense on this forum – exactly right Mike.
Yes!!! ban all talking within the bounds of the palace of Westminster, at least that way the country might be worth living in.
That’s the nub of it ID.
It’s an ill thought out knee jerk reaction. Certainly increase penalties for use of handheld mobile phones.
Exactly and definitely ban children in the car, what if a baby is crying, do you throw it out so as no to distract. RUBBISH!
In which case, how would we instruct learner drivers? Or to take it to its logical conclusion, no new drivers can be taught, so a gradual stopping of driving altogether….
The difference is that when the person you’re talking to is present, you use a different part of your brain. Our puny monkey brains never evolved for talking to someone who isn’t there, so we subconsciously “model” the person we’re talking to in our heads. Which would be fine, except the area of the brain we use to do that with is the same area used for spatial awareness and reasoning. A part of the brain you *really* need to keep focused on the road. That’s why calling and texting is so much more dangerous than just talking to someone else in the car.
Sorry, I buy that for handheld & texting because it’s just one ear you hear through but for handsfree where the sound is all around, what is the difference, you shouldn’t be looking at the other person in the car anyway so the brain must still be imagining the person that is there unless you take your eyes of the road of course!!
Regradless, it is still an issue of concentration and priotities. If the road is the priority the the road will win out. should something happen needing action. I simply stop talking and listening when action is needed and then explain to the other person afterwards what happenned and why I ignored them for a short while. We can be trained and many actions become almost subconcious such as the physical parts of driving, Police are trained to use rados etc when on a chase and almost any other time, if they can do it so can everyone else if they try.
Handheld is dangerous because it requires one hand off the wheel and concetration to keep the phone in place plus the talking and perhaps the one ear bit above also. Texting is dangerous because it’s at least one hand, plus eyes off the road plus more concentration to write. To suggest therefore that handfree use is as distracting and dangerous as hand hand or texting is absolute b******s.
Texting happens more because it’s less visible so when they banned handheld use it meant more texting. Banning handsfree will mean more hand held use because the kit is no longer there and even more texting as these haven’t stopped despite already being illegal already and probably account for most of the 43 anyway.
Finally, handsfree use is now very common as is having passengers so my original argument over the stats still holds. How many of the 732 accidents invlolved vehicles with passengers albeit perhaps it should be the 775 as some of the 43 could have also had passengers who could also have taken the drivers attention? ……….. but this still only a factor, not necessarily the actual cause so banning the phone altogether does not mean 43 less deaths.
Difference passengers are looking ahead as well. With the phone you can lose concentration best answer don’t use it. It is not illegal to talk to you passenger but it is illegal to use your phone if you want to keep your licence put the phone away
I use my phone to stream audio, it is much easier to use in a holder that faces you than the car’s own audio system which is very distracting to use. I can also use Alexa to change music tracks without touching the phone. This is a step too far, if you ban every distraction passengers will also be banned!
“Alexa – how many members of Parliament can be bothered to think things through?”
Actually, the answer would be single occupancy cars 😊
Or, going back several hundred years where we all lived in tiny hamlets and that was the extent of out existence; if you can’t walk there, it doesn’t exist!
Mind, isn’t one of our politicians wanting to ban cars altogether.
As usual with MP’s,/Civil Servants not thought through properly.
Let’s look at who uses hands free in-vehicle communication:-
Doctors on call-out
plus, probably, many others.
Who has decided that the drivers of these vehicles are less likely to be distracted than the ordinary motorist?. Also, presumably our learned MP’s would like the above vehicles to halt to take incoming messages, as we are all supposed to do at present? Why did they not go the whole hog and ban in car conversation? We have all seen drivers turning their head to talk to their passenger, i.e. taking their eyes off the road for several seconds at at a time. Is this not just as, if not more, dangerous?
I am not disputing the dangers of distraction by in car communication merely the usual hamfisted approach by central government, a trait which seems to proliferate each passing year.
(Witness the Brexit debacle)
Very good points. We are all voting and calling for less regulation in our lives whilst politicians, needing to justify their existence, are doing is with more and more, until our lives are so utterly regulated that we cannot breath without doing it in a prescribed way and at prescribed times!
And how many times do you see TV programmes where a driver is interviewed while driving and they constantly turn to face the camera in the passenger seat? THAT should certainly be made illegal.
THe approved procedure is to take such shots when the car being driven is on a low loader, giving the impression the reporter is driving but they are in fact stationary on the back of another vehicle. Where being in motion is a requirement then with Police support, the shot is normally taken on a closed road so safety is not impacted. Unfortunately this is not always the case as with news footage.
it is also illegal to travel on/in a moving trailer. otherwise why cant we put the family in a seperate trailer pod on the back of our single occupant cars that seem to be being proposed ultimately?
Absolutely I am sick of seeing this on many programmes now including fiction , as though it is acceptable to tune round and take your eyes off the road, my pet hate
and often the units used by emergency services as you describe arent totally ‘hands free’! and if thats such a big deal, why hasnt CB radios (admittedly much rarer now as we use phones instead) been banned in vehicles? this would render the emergency services totally useless!
When the legislation was introduced, making an emergency call was exempted.., I can’t say that I have read it since, so I don’t know whether that still applies.
Yes I agree to every word you wrote. I wonder if any of these member’s of parliament who is wanting this ban.,use there hands free themselves.. Maybe Boris Johnson was using ,but at least now he is a back seat passenger.
The other thing is probably we have paid maybe £500 plus for this technology being put in cars over the last number of years. So if they ban hands free are the government going to give us all a refund for this technology that is as useless as a chocolate fire guard.
Oh by the way someone better tell the prime minister that he will not be able to communicate with the driver through the inter com any more.
Ken, you have a good point regarding drivers turning their head towards passenger when conversing. I really hate to see this. It always happens in TV programmes, whether in dramas or factual shows (e.g. ambulances). How about if the media was the route to get the message across to the public by setting a good example?
When I am driving and passinger asks me to do look at something on there phone. My reply is no not now I am watching the road should I need to answer my hands free phone i only need to press one button and continue watch the road and mirrors at all times. I am 80 years old and watching some other drivers on the motorway jumping lanes from the outside to inside lane at speed. Tail gateing they are the ones making accedents not me bye just pressin one button. It’s more dangerous to glance down to put fog lights on. Just lean to drive responsibley.
Clearly you do not understand that it’s the conversation with someone at the end of the phone that has absolutely no comprehension of the conditions or maybe impending hazard that you may be facing whilst driving that is the distraction. A passenger will generally be aware of what’s going on around them and tend to react by shutting up in the event of the driver having to take evasive action to avoid an incident. All drivers should be obliged to undergo a Police Advanced Driving course as I was at the age of 20yrs.
Just stop talking! What’s wrong with you people. You’re all like social media idiots who can’t stop looking at their phone. If you need to concentrate – stop talking!
Everyone I speak to on my phone, both when driving and when dog walking or shopping or even in the house if something is on the cooker, gets told to hang on whilst I do xxx, if appropriate. They can choose to hang on or to hang up, either is acceptable but my focus will have switched from them to whatever it is I need to have more concentration on.
An adult passenger, who has passed their driving test or a teenager hoping to do so shortly, may well have the nous to react appropriately. Non drivers of any age have as little idea of what is going on outside the car as the person on the other end of the phone!
I totally agree with the previous correspondents. No doubt this silly idea has been thought up by some very well off MPs sitting int he back of their chauffeur driven cars. Rather than proposing this daft idea (how is it to be policed anyway?) let’s have some more police officers dealing with the terrible driving that can now be seen. When I moved to my current address I was amazed to see drivers being polite and stopping for pedestrians, letting cars out from side turnings, and generally behaving in a polite manner. Now fifteen years later I’m appalled by the poor standard of driving. Drivers frequently ignore pedestrian crossings, red lights, and often overtake at excessive speed using bus lanes. Why do they do this? In my opinion because they know they are unlikely to be caught and any penalty will be almost meaningless.
The AA has been pushing this for years
Interesting point if this idea gets the green light and assuming that the backing of the AA will help that to happen , how will the AA controllers contact their mobile vehicles?
Well thought out Christopher. They are dealing with the symptoms and not the root cause. They lack morals and education.
I have looked at the select committee report. The select committee is made up of 11 MPs. At the meeting where this was recommended, just 6 were present. This doesn’t sound like a mandate to me.
If the Government went ahead and banned hands free equipment in the car, how would it be removed? Would they compensate the owner, who purchased the vehicle with hands free being instrumental for the choice of tech in the Vehicle, the list is endless.
And cyclists? are they part of this supposed ban as well? lost count the amount of cyclists with phones pushed to their helmets whilst rising on the road, even thought there is a cycle track for them bit like us driving on the pavement as we just don’t like the road but that’s another story, even seen a few of them texting whilst riding, different rules for them I suppose being ECO friendly ETC.
I’m not a business user but I don’t take a call whilst driving. I agree that drivers chatting whilst driving are not giving FULL attention to driving, I have noticed that time and time again. What about drivers who smoke isn’t that a distraction as they light a cigarette? And aren’t they under the influence of nicotine whilst driving? I agree with the comment that it’s all down to commonsense but I don’t think that people know the meaning of the word therefore they don’t use it.
I saw a case on the BBC news yesterday morning which was tragic. A van driver was texting using hands free and knocked down and killed a cyclist. He had previous offences for just such activities. I think it is important to distinguish between so called hands free texting and making a hands free call. Texting can never be ‘hands free’ and clearly to text you have to take your attention off the road ahead and at least one hand off the wheel. However, particularly if you have voice activated hands free telephoning, I don’t see how that is any more hazardous than having a conversation with your passengers and probably less hazardous than changing the channel on your radio. Logically therefore if we are going to fully ban mobile phone use in cars we should ban radios, sat nav and any form of conversation with passengers. They all cause you to take attention from the job of driving. To me the common sense approach would be to ban texting, but to still allow voice calls provided the making and receiving of those calls is wholly voice activated. This would allow drivers to keep both hands on the wheel, both eyes on the road and be no more distracting than talking to the passenger in the rear.
Could you please explain hands free texting? surly if your texting you’re using your hands.
Hand free texting means your voice is recorded and converted to a text so it is hand free – no hand but voice.
This is true, but I think you need to keep looking at the screen to check it has converted your voice to text properly. Now that is dangerous. Like watching TV.
My car can text hands free by dictating the message. The hands free connection came as standard with the car and I tried it once just to check it worked. I haven’t used it since because I so rarely text or make phone calls.
I think the use of non hands free mobiles should be banned and anyone caught using one should be imprisoned! We had the murder of a teenager because a teenager was driving his car whilst texting, when will the law change, hands free only and no texting. I am fed up with drivers in my area not signalling wavering all over the road because when you get up close to them they are TEXTING, they are not even looking at the road and this is an EVERYDAY occurrence but they never get caught and when they do its a slap on the wrist with a paltry fine. They are behind the wheel of a killing machine not at home on the sofa!
Until there are more traffic police back on the roads all these ideas to stop people texting etc. are a waste of time as there is nobody to stop people doing as they want ie texting whilst driving & like most things our MPs do this is NOT being thought through before a change is brought in,a total waste of time giving us just more useless regulations.
How are the authorities going to find if a hands-free device is being used? Presumably they would monitor electrical signals so I would be prosecuted if my wife, in the passenger seat, uses her mobile phone.
At present it seems as if use of hand held mobile phones is discovered by some form of visual or photographic evidence. This can be objectionable.
The Foreign Office has evidence that some religions prohibit the photography of their adherents on the grounds that it steals part of their soul; big government is anti religion. By the actions against Sikhs in contravention of their religion this government appears determined to stamp out any form of belief that does not comply with the views of some faceless civil servant. This contravenes the concept that the government acts on our behalf – in fact it acts against the people of this nation.
nanny state nothing wrong with hands. free priority should be texting hand held .speeding tailgating and careless driving.
Also, should focus on people who ignore speed limits and do 30 mph regardless of the road conditions and posted speed limits. Yes I’m talking about people who drive too slowly, they are as much a hazard to other traffic as speeders. The highway code says you should make “good progress” within the speed limit 30 mph in normal conditions on a road with 50 to 70 mph limit is breaking the highway code and failing to drive with due care and attention. As for banning hands free, it’s ridiculous, unless we have self driving cars. then presumably we’ll be able to make calls at will as we won’t be driving 🙂
Christopher Jackson just because a speed limit says 50 or whatever it does not mean to say you have to do that speed, I would rather see someone going slower than the limit than going faster and breaking the speed limit,I live in a village with a school which has a 20 mph limit and a lot of young drivers just go speeding through doing more than 35/40 mph, do you think that is right
Never happen, how would police, fire and ambulance services receive needed/possibly life saving information, what would happen to car entertainment systems ??????
They want to ban hands free from being used what about the police and their radios I was watching a program last night and the police was trying to catch a speeding car the police was driving at 141 mph on a motor way using one hand on the wheel and the other on his radio and when he caught up with the speeding car another police vehicle had joined the motor way and stopped the speeding car so the officer doing 141mph and using one hand to control his car thinks it is acceptable to do that speed what would the reason be if he had a blowout and caused an accident with another vehicle and caused a death ???
If hands free phones are banned it will prevent police officers travelling solo – probably a good idea from a health and safety point of view with the increase in attacks on the police. Unless of course the police are to be put above the law.
It would also increase costs for AA and RAC services
It is so obvious. You are concentrating on your driving or you are driving and conversing. If you are doing both each must be less effective. Surely there is a way to rig your phone such that if it rings you can press a button which sends a reply telling the caller you are driving and can ring them back at YOUR safe convenience.
It is pointless introducing legislation that most folk ignore
Are motor sports drivers/riders a different species then. F1 drivers simultaneously control cars at & sometimes over their limits, operate the computer that is their steering wheel, have technical discussions with their engineers, work out tactics for the next overtake and develop and modify strategies for the remainder of the race. And we are supposed to be incapable of answering a handsfree phone call. Most of us know the politicians should be locked up for breaking our country but this latest madness totally beggars belief.
Yes they are and, without sounding pompous, so was I as a RAF Fighter Pilot. It is what you are trained for and you know when to push/switch/talk and when not to. 600MPH at 100 feet avoiding the bad guys and controlling your other formation members keeps you busy! However, having said all that, I still have to work at not getting involved in a conversation on my hands free system in the car. I just stop talking at times but, without the previous training, that would not be easy.
Is pressing the button not a distraction ???
It is the few idiots who are spoiling things for everyone. Many people just use the hands free for a quick call to let family know if they are delayed, which hurts nobody. I agree that many drivers are texting at the wheel as well as holding the handset whilst carrying on a conversation at the wheel – they should be hung out to dry. However, the ramifications are many and if both hands must be on the wheel, how does a driver change gear? Or smoke? How will it be policed? One could be suspected of talking on the phone even if you are just singing to yourself and moving your lips. A referendum is definitely needed on this idiotic proposal.
And the police to enforce this are where?
In the last 12 months I don’t recall seeing a single patrol
I do see plenty of poor driving
MPs need to concentrate on other pressing matters as this is unenforceable.
Resources would be better deployed going after drivers using wrong lanes to cue jump, dangerous boy racers zigzag in and out of lanes and high speed last minute multi lane switch to exit a highway
It shouldn’t be those using hands free-devices that are punished but those who are so easily distracted as to cause a danger, should have their licences revoked, PERMANENTLY.
Ok, can understand the phone angle but surely it won’t stop there and sat navs could be next…
I believe it is already illegal to programme a route whilst driving and rightly so.
What about using Google maps on my phone?At the moment I and millions of others use this to navigate our way around the country. It is certainly much easier and safer than trying to do what I had to do years ago … Trying to read paper maps on the seat next to me whilst driving alone. Surely using Google maps aids safety and does not make driving more dangerous???
Needs to be set before starting to drive, hope nothing changes during your journey!!!!, as most people on this forum are saying who can police it, the police cannot stop the current bad practices that are easy to see, if I am talking to myself are they going to pull me over to confirm my phone is off.
Using Google maps (rather than some other sat nav systems), uses up to date road conditions – it will warn you of delays and use diversions etc, so there is much less chance of “something changing during your journey!”
Next they will be saying drivers should be separated from all passengers and should not speak to them when driving. What a load of morons. There should be stronger penalties for those idiots who still hold phones in their hands whilst driving.
The term ‘hands-free device would encompass all SatNavs. Are they not part of the driving test now?
Otherwise, there would only be a minimal difference between using a stand-alone (or built-in) SatNav legally and using a mobile phone version in a cradle illegally.
You cannot legislate against stupidity. The vast majority of (particularly business) hands-free users are capable of doing two things at once, despite the high proportion of drivers they have to cope with on the road who simply should not be behind a wheel, in charge of a ton-and-a-half of steel , aluminium and plastic.
I just heard someone quote that it’s approx. 3% of accidents that can be attributed to illegal mobile phone use. That’s bad, but how about tackling the other 97% of causes, first? Too logical? Not good enough headlines? Put some of the money likely to be spent on this exercise in trying to control our lives into better road lighting, bringing back cats-eyes and repairing potholes!
I cannot see how this would be enforceable. The current law is barely enforced as it is, with police who see offenders often choosing to ignore mobile phone use. I was in a dual line of traffic yesterday slowly moving forwards towards traffic lights. In front of me I could see the driver texting away. In the lane next to him, a police car with driver and passenger. The non-driving police officer was also texting away (not illegal). He looked up at least twice and looked across to the driver next to him. They did nothing.
Would it apply to motorbikes also? Many bikers, myself included, have bluetooth intercoms that play through speakers in the helmet. I can converse with friends who are riding in convoy with me, no different to a car driver talking to a passenger. I can listen to the radio, or my satnav. I can give voice instructions to my phone or my helmet cam. The motorcycle driving test uses the self same technology to allow the examiner to talk with the rider being tested. One could argue that listening to a satnav or a radio would be distracting. Maybe we should ban pedestrians from the side of the road, lest they distract a driver? I saw a video only yesterday of a girl that decided to dance and do some twerking at the side of a road whilst her friend recorded it. A car crashed into a motorcycle (or vice versa).
Eating or drinking while driving? Most cars now have drinks holders for the driver, as well as passengers. Doing makeup whilst driving? Many cars have vanity mirrors on the driver’s side sun visor. I have actually seen a woman curling her eyelashes whilst driving.
Why extend a law when the current law is simply not enforced, and cannot be enforced due to lack of policing resources? I probably cover two thirds of my mileage riding a motorbike. I pass or see uncountable numbers of drivers using their mobile phone or other devices. I was next to a motorist driving at 60-70mph on the M6 watching a video on a tablet he was holding against his steering wheel with both hands. When he at last realised I was signalling to him to put it down, he simply gave me the finger.
Drivers do not care that they might well kill another person, as long as they are alright, safe in their protective tank, with very little risk of being prosecuted. It is probably more dangerous than being drunk, and yet there is a pitiful fine and only 6 points
And what about TV programmes where a person is interviewed while driving and constantly turning to face the camera in the passenger seat. THAT should certainly be banned. If that isn’t dangerous I don’t know what is. That sort of thing demonstrates how little consideration is given to road safety.
If this is going ahead they should ban smoking eating and drinking whilst driving as well, as these are equally as dangerous!
Eating and drinking are but as the Government get some revenue for smokers this is ok.
Yes I am all for the use of hand held mobile phones being be banned when driving . However why ban hands free devices. If we are to listen to the so called experts who say hands free devices should be banned as well they are responsible for the same amount of driver distraction as hand held devices. Well if this is the case should we not t ban sat nav’s, playing the radio and talking to the wife and children as these could cause the same amount of distractions to.
Now on second thoughts if we are going to be 100 percent safe why bother going by car at all ,we will all go by bus. Or on the other hand If I am to go by car it will be in complete solitude no sat nav no wife no kids and no listening to radio 2 Maybe this could be a good thing after all.
How far will all thisl go? well I am afraid all the way,if we let the so called experts have their way. I and many others are sick and tired of listening to these so called experts who would have you believe they have the answer to everything this may true in some cases but not all. Lets hope for once common sense will prevail and that there views are not implemented to the fullest.
What about banning all mp taking ridiculous amounts of money for expenses and give it to the NHS I bet mp are the worse culprits for using their phone in their cars one rule for one
My phone is connected to radio via bluetooth , so it is no more distracting than singing along to the radio or discussing the news with a passenger. What next?….ban talking. ban breathing. ban changing gear as it distracts you from driving.
Absolutely ridiculous. Dogs, kids, partners, work colleagues etc etc, can. All be a much worse distraction. Arguing with partners, at least you can put a phone down
Calls on hands free are normally just a short message, such as ‘where are you” or “sorry am going to be late.” When are MPs going to stop expanding the nanny state? Grrrr
The police have problems catching people that use the mobile phones already
So if we are to stop hands free what are the car manufacturers going to do about the hands free kits in the car
So if all distractions are to be stoped so why stop at
1) mobile phones
4) sat nav
6)other equipment in the car
7) talking to passengers
8) children in the back
So a little common sense please
More harder. sentences if found not just a slap on the wrist also ban them from having a phone for a year
So we’re do we stop please use some common sense
If communicating with a person who is in the car, one’s brain is in the car. If communicating with someone who is in their place of work, one’s brain is in their office etc.
“In order for a law to be effective, it must be enforced and the above stats show it isn’t at the minute.”
yet how often is the passenger talking about the current road conditions? Almost never. For those of us with imaginations, any conversation with a passenger takes you immediately to the place and time the passenger is talking about.
Plus, the passenger wants body language responses back, making passengers way more distracting than a phone call.
Almost anyone will accept “i’ll call you right back in a few minutes”, how often have you told your passenger to shut up till the journey is over? Yeah, never.
Should hand held devices include E-Cigarettes as well the real ones, thus every aspect of holding an item must include the munching on something as well as drinking something. A return to concentrating on driving can only be a good thing, as for talking to a passenger, “Yes”, however, only when this does not entail the driver turning to face said passenger(s) And, like so many drivers have a habit of doing, NOT “talking with their hands” !!!
So does that mean Police officers and emergency service drivers will be banned from using radios and mobile phones if the ban comes into place? Or will they be exempt for some reason?
If not then Pilots who hold a radio operators license would have to be given the exemption also as they are more qualified to communicate than Police officers.
So will this ban include emergency service personnel that are single crewed ?
Many Traffic officers are single crewed will the ban be including them ??
Or is it one rule for them and one rule for everyone else ??
Another way to penalise motorists
Next thing is not to have passengers in the car incase they distract the driver with conversations
Taking a hands free call in a car fitted with manufacturers systems involves nothing more than a pressing a button on the steering wheel. Like a conversation with a passenger your priority is to concentrate on your driving. Please let’s not confuse this; the problem is not with ‘talking’ it’s with concentration, holding a handset or the idiocy of thinking texting (reading or writing) is remotely possible without impairing your ability to ‘read’ the road ahead.
Following the recent case of Assistant Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson of Lincolnshire Police, it is evident that hands free is not safe and that the prohibition must apply to all vehicles including the Police. Not safe is not safe. And no exemptions for MP’s either.
I totally agree,You see police driving at over 100 mph and talking on the radio. Their excuse is that they are ‘Trained’ to do this. This is total Bovine manure.
it should be remembered that 80% of accidents have no illegal activity to blame. they are caused by standard driving, and thus are unavoidable by outlawing non-standard things.
The offshoot of this is that 80% of accidents that DO have an illegal activity to blame, were probably unavoidable also.
This means, there were 10 fatalities caused by mobile phones in 2017, probably only 1 of them hands-free
Earphones should be banned, removes one of the senses and easy to police
So should smoking in all circumstances
But the laws must be enforceable
MPs want to ban “hands free”
MPs want driverless cars
Maybe we should cut to the chase – MPs want people off roads
Husband and wife screaming at each other, dogs whining in back, children being naughty and/or fighting; the list goes on. My thoughts, ban trouble making MPs who do not have a clue about the people whom elect them!
Whilst I agree that talking on a mobile is a distraction, dealing with misbehaving children (for example) is at least equally so. We can never make life 100% safe and are becoming a paranoid society. Risk is a part of life. I find the technology in my car far more distracting than speaking to someone via the hands free system.
What I do fail to understand is why smoking at the wheel is apparently okay while eating a chocolate bar apparently is not. The one is on fire if you inadvertently drop it and clearly one’s attention is distracted in order to light it. Where is the lobby to ban smoking whilst driving, which has the potential for more than one kind of risk… the passive smoking of passengers including children.
Eating and drinking at the wheel is illegal, I’m not sure about smoking.
Eating and drinking is not against the law but you could be charged with dangerous driving or driving without due care and attention if your driving is affected by eating or drinking
This a step too far for the ‘Nanny State’. Yes, enforce the current laws but where will this constant interference with civil liberties stop. No sat nav – a return to trying to read a map or follow written instructions whilst driving?/. No radio/cd/usb etc? Ban talking to other passengers – surely a major distraction!!
Out of order if that’s the case they should be banning radios in case you are distracted changing stations or listening to a discussion or lighting up cigarettes that is an obvious distraction where does it all end!
I use hands free to receive calls and voice recognition to make a call, I never look at an incoming text unless stationary/parked.
I Personally do not think it distracts me from my driving as much as talking to other passengers in the car. Using hands free to talk you are still (or should be) paying attention and looking ahead at the road. Talking to a passenger often requires one to look at the person (something I get wrong for NOT doing) Are we to then ban having a conversation with passengers?
I still see numerous drivers using a mobile glued to there ear whilst driving It is my opinion that these are where the danger still is holding the thing and sending texts etc! Not the hands free. Banning hands free will not in my opinion make any difference, as its the ones who still do not use hands free causing the accidents.
exactly, a passenger WANTS the body language cues and will not accept being told to shut up till the destination is reached. If you take a call and tell them you’ll ring them back as you are driving I doubt anyone in the country would object
What next no singing with the radio we are such a nanny state. Get a grip Technology has move down on to try and make our roads safer. Target people who are irresponsible not make blanket rules.