On 1 December the ban on the use of mobile phones whilst driving will be a decade old, but has it been successful in deterring drivers?
It is now a criminal offence to use a mobile phone, a law passed after studies showed the risk posed when drivers use their mobile phones, including research which suggested that mobile phone use slowed reaction times more than alcohol consumption. There is an exception for genuine emergency calls whilst the use of hands-free kits, though controversial, remains legal despite suggestions by scientists that it is the use of the device rather than the handling that impairs concentration.
However, surveys have suggested that mobile phone use at the wheel continues, a particular problem being posed by the use of smart phones. The main issue seems to stand with young drivers who are increasingly reliant on the use of mobile phones. Suggestions have been made that this habit should be addressed by instructors whilst teaching individuals to drive, possibly placing the same stigma on mobile phone use as drink-driving or failing to wear a seatbelt. This way the issue could be resolved before young drivers are placed behind the wheel.