A ban on drivers using hands-free mobile phones should be considered, a report published by the Commons Transport Select Committee has said.
Current laws only ban the use of devices being held by drivers. This gives the “misleading impression” that hands-free use is safe despite it creating “the same risks of a collision”, according to the report.
It recommended that the government should explore options for extending the current ban on hand-held mobiles and publish a public consultation on the issue by the end of 2019.
In 2017, there were 773 casualties on Britain’s roads – including 43 deaths and 135 serious injuries – in crashes where a driver using a mobile was a contributory factor.
The committee said the number of people killed or seriously injured in such accidents has risen steadily since 2011 but the rate of enforcement of the law regarding phone use has plunged by more than two-thirds since the same year.
Since March 2017, motorists caught using a hand-held phone have faced incurring six points on their licence and a £200 fine – up from the previous penalty of three points and £100.
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”.
Labour MP Lilian Greenwood, who chairs the committee, said: “There is 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.”