Hands-free mobiles need to be banned too, say MPs
A ban on drivers using mobile phones in hands-free mode should be considered, MPs have said.
Current laws which only proscribe the devices being held by drivers give the "misleading impression" that hands-free use is safe despite it creating "the same risks of a collision", a report published by the Commons Transport Select Committee warned.
The cross-party committee admitted there would be practical challenges to criminalising and enforcing hands-free use, but insisted "this does not mean that we should not do it".
It recommended that the Government should explore options for extending the current ban on hand-held mobiles and publish a public consultation on the issue by the end of 2019.
In 2017, there were 773 casualties on Britain's roads - including 43 deaths and 135 serious injuries - in crashes where a driver using a mobile phone was a contributory factor.
The committee said the number of people killed or seriously injured in such accidents has risen steadily since 2011 but the rate of enforcement of the law regarding phone use has plunged by more than two-thirds since that year.
Since March 2017, motorists caught using a hand-held phone have faced incurring six points on their licence and a £200 fine - up from the previous penalty of three points and £100.
The MPs urged the Government to consider whether penalties should be increased further "to better reflect the serious risks created by drivers committing this offence".