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Research proves it is more dangerous to talk on your mobile phone than to drive slightly over the limit

Research by the transport research Laboratory in the UK, in association with Direct Line, compared driving while using of a mobile phone during driving (hand-held and hands-free) with driving just over the drink drive limits. They found that reaction times were significantly slower in drivers using phones than those who had consumed alcohol. The drunk drivers missed significantly fewer warning signs than drivers using a mobile phone. Those drivers using their phone were also likely to respond to the wrong warning signs.

There have been widespread public fears surrounding the affect of mobile phone signals on health. However, reports by the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Government’s Independent Expert Groups have so far concluded that the only proven dangers of using mobile phones surround their use while driving, or even walking if people step off the pavement without concentrating and cause an accident.

There have been demands for public consultation on the use of two-way radio systems in commercial vehicles such as taxis and emergency vehicles. One of the perceived difficulties in banning all types of mobile phones, pagers and radio systems is the effect that this might have on those who rely on their communication to delivery their services. One option currently being considered by Government Consultation Groups, in consultation with the Transport Industry, is the viability of restricting the use of such devices.

Commercial organisations who have carried out comprehensive res-assessments on the practice of communication while driving are increasingly banning the use of communication devices; arranging to talk with their drivers during their rest breaks.

You can’t ban conversations with passengers, so why ban mobile phone use?

It is easier to stop conversations with passengers, even young children, when a driver needs to concentrate fully than to break off from a conversation on the other end of a telephone line. Some road safety charities actually recommend that even conversations with passengers should be limited to allow the driver full concentration.In reality though, it is very hard to ban conversations within a vehicle, but it is possible to ban all use of phones; therefore we should.

Better be safe than sorry; switch your phone off until have finished your trip

If mobile phones are not banned, then many road safety charities would like to see the use of a mobile phone when driving to be a more serious offence, carrying a fixed penalty £1000 + six points. This would mean that a driver would only need to be caught twice, rather than four times, before they lose their license. Currently, many people ignore the ban and do not realize that they may not be insured while driving using their mobile phone.

In-car music systems are also dangerous

The use of iPods, MP3 players and loud in-car entertainment systems playing music too loud can affect driver concentration, and even cause deafness. High volume of the sounds have contributed to many Road Traffic Accidents involving young drivers aged 17 to 24, so think of others before you turn the volume up; you wouldn’t want a blue badge for a present, or give it to someone else.

Tougher laws are on the way with drivers who do not concentrate facing up to two years in jail

On 23rd December 2007, the Mail on Sunday reported that changes to the motoring laws meant that drivers who are distracted at the wheel could to face up to two years in jail. This will apply to any case where the use of a mobile phone, operating a satellite navigation system, MP3 player (or any electronic device), putting on make-up or lighting a cigarette etc was a contributory factor in causing an accident.

A driver who is proven to have been dangerously distracted, can now be charged with dangerous driving and will face the minimum of a two-year driving ban. Previously, this would be carless driving, incurring a fine and not necessarily resulting in the driver losing their license.

Under these tougher rules, such transgressions will be treated as seriously as speeding or driving through a red traffic light; possibly even leading to a life sentence if someone dies as a result of an accident.

The director of public prosecutions Sir Ken Macdonald QC said This responds to public concern about the dangers of driving while using a mobile and this means that a charge of dangerous driving will now be the starting point for this offence, where there is clear evidence that danger has been caused by its use .

Prosecutors are now able to bring manslaughter charges, carrying up to a life sentence if the standard of driving falls so far below the required standard that there is a serous and obvious risk of death and the conduct of the defendant is so reprehensible as to the amount of gross negligence .

New Research suggests as many as half a million motorists a day use hand-held mobile phones while driving.

The penalty for using a satellite navigation system at the wheel was raised to a £60.00 pound fine and three points on the license.

Rob Gifford, Executive director of The Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety told BBC Radio 4's Today programme, said that it isn't every single driver using a mobile while driving who faces jail, it is those few whose use of a mobile phone causes an accident that results in injury.

What people are now being reminded of is that driving is complicated activity and it is better to have full concentration when driving instead of talking with your passengers. We still see terrible crashes where people have been texting, resulting in drivers driving into the back of stationary traffic in motorway queues because they haven't seen them.

Don’t use it or chance it; lives are at stake - yours and others’

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