Ban on mobile phone use “needs careful consideration”, say hauliers

Blanket ban on mobile phone use “needs careful consideration”, say hauliers

Hauliers are “extremely concerned” that MPs are considering banning the use of a hands-free mobile devices in vehicles.

The Transport Select Committee, in its recommendations to government, is calling for a public consultation  to consider restricting all mobile phone usage in vehicles, including the use of hands-free devices.

Committee chair Lilian Greenwood MP: “There is also a misleading impression that hands-free use is safe. The reality is that any use of a phone distracts from a driver’s ability to pay full attention, and the government should consider extending the ban to reflect this.” 

The Road Haulage Association said a ‘one size fits all’ approach to banning mobile phone use in vehicles needs careful consideration.

Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “For years we have condemned the use of hand-held devices but for truckers, it is essential that they are able to be contacted and can make contact with their base or their customers.

“We totally agree that drivers should not touch their phone while driving – put it in the glove box and forget it. But voice-activated devices, as fitted in the majority of vehicles, make communication safe and viable.

“Ours is an industry that is time critical and the ever increasing levels of congestion on the road network mean that communication is more important than ever. It’s vital that the driver can stay in touch. The vast majority of UK manufacturing plants now rely on just-in-time deliveries. Taking away the ability for drivers to keep in touch could seriously effect of production times.

“Once regarded as a luxury, a hand-free kit is now standard equipment in vehicles. If such a ban were to be put in place, how would it be enforced?

“This is a proposal that needs extremely careful consideration and it is vital that the RHA is included in any consultation. 

There were 773 casualties on Britain’s roads in 2017, including 43 deaths and 135 serious injuries, where the the driver was found to be using a mobile phone at the time of the incident.