Road safety charity renews calls for car and smartphone makers to develop solution for distracted drivers19 January 2017
The call comes as the government prepares to meet with mobile phone manufacturers to tackle use of phones at wheel
Car and smartphone makers must take action to help reduce the number of distracted drivers, according to road safety charity IAM RoadSmart.
In renewed calls for action, the charity has said ‘a technological solution to a problem caused by technology itself’ is needed, and that simply hoping drivers will do the right thing is no longer good enough.
In November last year, the government announced that motorists caught using a hand-held device would be fined £200 and receive six points on their licence – double the existing penalty.
The issue was brought into the spotlight following the jailing of lorry driver Tomasz Kroker, who in October 2016 was sentenced to 10 years in prison after ploughing into a line of stationary traffic while distracted by his smartphone. His negligence caused the death of a mother and three children.
A survey by IAM RoadSmart found 94 per cent of those asked felt that drivers checking or updating social media was a threat to their personal safety and welcomed tougher punishment for offenders.
Lisa Gunner, a serious injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, agrees with the charity that more needs to be done to prevent the use of hand-held devices by drivers.
“It only takes a minor lapse in concentration to cause a serious crash,” said Ms Gunner. “Even the most careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text.
“Everyone has their role to play in preventing this issue, including smartphone makers, and we welcome any technological developments that could help reduce the number of vulnerable road users seriously injured or worse killed on our roads every year.
“However we have to be realistic. Should smartphone manufactures commit to creating new technology to prevent distractions behind the wheel, it could take months, perhaps even years, for it to be developed.
“Until then, the government must uphold the safety of the British public by using road safety measures that are readily available, and not only make changes to legislation, but provide police authorities across the UK with adequate funding to help make British roads safer.”
Campaigners are also calling on the government to make improvements to the level of support provided to road-crash victims, including the allocation of additional funding of the specialist support offered to families when the worst has happened.
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