Drivers still using mobiles at the wheel

Using mobile while at wheel

Shock tactic advertising campaigns showing using a phone while driving can be as bad as drink driving, and tougher penalties for offenders aren't working as the number of people using mobiles while at the wheel is increasing.

So claims new research from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), which shows that, despite the dangers and risks posed to the lives of drivers and others, the number of people using their mobiles while driving has doubled in the past two years.

Females under 30 (17-29) are the most likely offenders in their gender group, while for men, the worst culprits are those aged 30-59.

"Your reaction time is likely to be slower, you're more likely to drift across into the adjacent lanes and you're less aware of what's going on around you," TRL's Dr Nick Reed, said in an interview with the BBC.

He added: "You're less likely to check the mirrors and know there are vehicles there, so you're at a much greater risk of having an accident."

Charity Brake, which works to boost road safety and support those affected by road accidents, is calling on the government to introduce a blanket ban of mobile use in cars, adding that they provide too great a distraction to drivers.

"Using a hand held mobile phone, or talking on any kind of mobile phone hand held or hands free, is a major distraction and given all the publicity there has been about the dangers of mobile phones, and the tragedies caused by mobile phone users, there can't be a driver out there who doesn't know it," said Brake's chief executive Mary Williams OBE, in a statement.

"Like drink or drug driving, there is absolutely no excuse for picking up a hand held phone and talking on it while driving. It not only demonstrates that you don't care about road safety and the lives of others, and are prepared to put a call above safety, it also makes you look really stupid and selfish to other law-abiding drivers and to pedestrians and cyclists. The easiest way to improve your standing in your community is to hang up."

Williams continued: "Brake is calling on the government to ban all kinds of mobile phone use in vehicles as it is the distraction of the call, not the holding of the phone that causes the main danger."

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.