UK House of Commons Transport Committee: Hands-free phone ban for drivers ‘should be considered’

Drivers in the United Kingdom could be banned from using hands-free mobile phones, a group of MPs has suggested, BBC News reports.

Current laws give the “misleading impression” that hands-free options are safe, they warned. While it has been illegal to use a handheld phone at the wheel since 2003, using a hands-free device creates “the same risks of collision”, the Commons Transport Select Committee said.

An expert told the committee that taking a hands-free phone call caused “essentially the same” amount of distraction as being at the legal limit for alcohol blood level in England and Wales. A public consultation on the proposal should be published by the end of 2019, the cross-party group said in a report.

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”.

Dr Gemma Briggs, senior lecturer in Psychology at the Open University, conducted the research with Dr Graham Hole, of the University of Sussex. She told BBC News: “The brain areas needed to create those mental images are the same brain areas that are needed for accurate visual perception of that driving situation.”

MacDailyNews Take: Hmm… Seems difficult to enforce, unless you want to somehow track phone use in vehicles on an individual basis. What about listening to the music on the radio? Or the news? Wouldn’t the same brain areas be busy creating mental images in those cases, too? Seems likely. Are they next going to propose banning radios in cars, too?

What about making it part of the driving test? If you have the capacity to drive while conducting a phone conversation via your AirPods, you get a sticker that allows you to use your phone, hands-free. If you lack the capacity, no hand-free phone sticker for you (and perhaps you shouldn’t be driving a multi-ton vehicle anyway).


  1. So is listening to music or talk shows also dangerous?
    Is having a conversation with my passengers dangerous… .. are we going to ban that too.

    Some people are just too regulation happy.. …

      1. As long as you don’t answer yourself you’re OK. And no, listening to something on the radio is not the same as carrying on an active conversation. I have to beep at people sitting at stop signs talking to “someone” to get them to go all the time.

    1. So using a hands free phone while driving is more distracting/dangerous than listening to your mother in law berate you for the entire trip while she’s sitting in the back seat? You can’t see her except through the rear view mirror (and you’d BETTER look at her every few seconds or else!), and you can’t turn around to make direct eye contact.

      Are they going to legislate banning mothers in law from traveling with you? To enforce that are they going to require checkpoints that stop motorists to demand passports and marriage certificates?

      And, while we are on the topic, when CarPlay was first announced it was hailed as soon becoming both hands free and eyes free. Now, several years later, it is mostly hands free, but it is nowhere near eyes free. Will it ever get there? I doubt it.

  2. Apple lobbyists will almost certainly block this proposed legislation.

    Remember, the pro-Brexit liars claimed that they would reduce regulation once they severed trade ties with the biggest trading bloc in the world. Instead the out-of-touch Parliament continues to drown the UK in red tape of their own making. Pro-Brexit idiots propose more unenforceable laws while driving the formerly impressive UK over a financial cliff.

    Now the 2nd (or 3rd?) idiot UK prime minister in a row thinks that continuing to make outlandish unrealistic promises while actually choosing a “no deal” exit (whereby all UK industries would be hugely disadvantaged) is a good policy. Industry estimates have projected 50-70% reduction in lorry freight between the UK and France. What would you imagine that would do to food prices in the UK, since the EU is the more massive food exporter? This week, Chancellor Sajid Javid proposed that for 2020-2021, an extra £2.1bn of funding would be needed to maintain government services. So much for Brexit saving money…. this number is so low-balled, it will not be surprising to see major cuts to NHS, schools, police, etc as the post-Brexit economy implodes. Irish Minister of State Michael D’Arcy predicts that Ireland will be more impacted than any other EU member state. Presumably that means that Ireland may have to start charging international anglophone money laundering firms the same taxes as other Irish businesses. So there is a silver lining.

    For all the old isolationist twats who hated to see eastern Europeans immigrate come and do jobs that their trust fund kids refused to do, to the benefit of hiring firms in the UK who couldn’t expand otherwise — what a rude awakening you will have to see that when you slam the door to those hardworking neighbors, you will still have to honor freedom of movement for the vast majority of darker-skinned people from your former colonies with which you mixed blood ties for the last 300+ years. Sorry, the English Channel won’t keep families apart. If may, however, drive up the cost of all trade imports on which the UK relies on heavily and force significant retraining for your new employees — if they want to join the cold wet imploding economy there. It would be easier to join the much more welcoming cold wet but relatively strong economy in Amsterdam or Berlin.

  3. Just keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. It’s not rocket science.
    @Mike – If you get this distracted when you’re commenting on an article, I’d hate to be in a vehicle with you.

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