Road safety charity Brake has welcomed a move by the government to review the use of mobile phones while driving, but said it wishes it had gone further.

Last week, the Transport Committee published the response to its inquiry entitled ‘Road safety: driving while using a mobile phone’ and revealed an overhaul of the conditions behind the offence will take place.

Changes to the law

Indeed, the government said it intends to prevent phone use “in any capacity” behind the wheel, closing a legal loophole that currently exists concerning cases in which drivers have accidents while taking photographs or videos.

It also said it will revise laws on browsing the internet and searching playlists while driving, agreeing that they have fallen behind advances in smartphone technology.

However, the committee’s recommendation to extend this to include hands-free devices was not accepted.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, welcomed the review but said it provides the false impression that hands-free kits are safe when they are not.

“All phone use behind the wheel is dangerous and to get this message across to drivers the law must reflect this. Far too many people still use their phone behind the wheel, yet it should be as unacceptable as drink driving,” he added.

Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, comments: “Hands-free kits are proving a sticking point in the eyes of the law, but we’re glad to see it catching up with disruptive technology such as photography. If you’re driving, that’s the only thing you should be doing – there is no room for multi-tasking at the wheel.”

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