Bans on hands-free mobile phones should be considered, say MPs

Bans on hands-free mobile phones should be considered, say MPs

A group of MPs say that the current law gives a “misleading impression” that using such a system is safe

A ban on drivers using hands-free mobile phones should be considered, a group of MPs have said.

A report published by the Commons Transport Select Committee has said that the current laws regarding the use of hands-free mobile phones behind the wheel gives a “misleading impression” of safety. The committee also warned that using such a a device creates “the same risks of a collision”.

Hands-free covers all ways of accepting and having a call – whether it be through an earpiece system, Bluetooth or using a smartphone mirroring system, such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The report recommended that the government should consider extending the current law, which simply bans the use of a hand-held mobile device, and publish a consultation on the issue before the end of 2019.

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However, the committee did acknowledge the challenges of punishing drivers using a hands-free device, and catching an offending driver. Although it said “this does not mean that we should not do it”.

Labour MP Lilian Greenwood, who chairs the committee, said: “Despite the real risk of catastrophic consequences for themselves, their passengers and other road users, far too many drivers continue to break the law by using hand-held mobile phones.

“There is also a misleading impression that hands-free use is safe. The reality is that any use of a phone distracts from a driver’s ability to pay full attention and the Government should consider extending the ban to reflect this.”

The committee also said that the government should consider introducing even harsher penalties to deter drivers from using a phone behind the wheel. The current penalty, which doubled in 2017, is now six points and a £200 fine.

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