Learn and Live - October 2002
RESPONSE TO THE CONSULTATION PAPER
Learn a Live has long supported the introduction of a specific offence relating to the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving.
We welcome these proposals and trust that the resulting legislation will be adequately enforced.
Our response follows the order of the paper itself.
Yes we agree with this proposal.
All the research points to the deterioration in concentration on the driving task whenever a driver uses a mobile phone.
Arguments that use of a mobile phone while driving is no different to listening to the radio or passenger is a totally false comparison.
Passengers and radios can be ignored immediately if drivers perceive a hazard; this is far more difficult to do at speed when in conversation with a person who is not physically in the car, particularly if this person is an employer.
The brain does not concentrate on more than one task at a time, however fast it can switch and appear to be able to do so.
Unfortunately too many drivers over-estimate their own ability to deal with such a distraction and therefore it must not be left to their own choice, legislation must be used to specify this as a particular offence.
Texting must be included and specifically referred to in the legislation as part of the offence.
Learn and Live would strongly urge that hands-free phones should also be an offence for all but specially trained drivers such as the Police, Fire Officers, Ambulance Drivers and other special categories.
However, we accept that this is unlikely to be adopted at present and would not wish the ban on the use of hand-held phones to be delayed.
We trust that the Department will keep this option under review in the light of continuing research.
Yes. The more opportunities there are for confusion the more likely the law is to fall into disrepute.
Yes. The current fine is not sufficient to discourage business users nor to act as a deterrent.
We trust that there will be no weakening of the proposals when the regulation is introduced.
Learn and Live does not consider that there should be any real problem with the implementation of this legislation.
Learn and Live has no objection to its response being made public.