13:14 18 November 2013
According to figures that were released at the start of National Road Safety week, more than 500,000 people had points on their license for using a phone or for being otherwise distracted. For this reason, road safety campaigners have called to ban both hands-free and hand-held phones from vehicles.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: "We're living in an age when being constantly connected is the norm.”
"More and more of us have smartphones, and find it hard to switch off, even for a minute.”
"While there are enormous benefits to this new technology, it's also posing dangerous temptations to drivers to divert their concentration away from the critical task at hand, often putting our most vulnerable road users in danger.”
The campaigners also called for the penalty for calling or texting while driving to increase from £100 to £500-1000 to deter motorists.
Brake’s move is being supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
Brake’s research suggests that 98per cent of motorists were unable to divide their time without affecting their driving ability.
A government spokesman was quoted by the BBC as saying: The government is determined that police have the powers they need to tackle any form of dangerous driving, including anyone using a mobile phone at the wheel.
"That is why this year the fixed penalty for this offence was increased to £100 and carries three penalty points.
"Police can stop and arrest any driver if they believe they are not in charge of their vehicle, and this includes if the driver is using a hands-free mobile device.
"There are no plans to change the law around the use of hands-free devices but all penalties are kept under review to ensure they are appropriate."
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