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).