Following reports that the Government is to meet mobile phone companies to discuss the problem of drivers' phone use at the wheel, RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said:
“The RAC was the first organisation to highlight how much attitudes to using handheld phones have relaxed among some UK drivers and that their illegal use is now at epidemic proportions, and we are committed to playing our part in helping change that.
“Technology has a significant role to play in making driving safer. The reality is that cars will become increasingly sophisticated and enabled with connected, mobile-phone based technology – but we have to ensure that this makes them safer and less distracting. To this end a ‘drive safe’ mode has a role to play in helping motorists do the right thing while behind the wheel. Indeed, many smartphones already have a ‘do not disturb’ function that, when activated, limits some intrusive phone alerts.
“Many motorists also regularly use sat nav apps that are common in today’s smartphones, and this would need to be considered as part of any suggestions of a ‘lockdown’ on smartphone functionality while driving.
“So technology can help, but on its own it is unlikely to be enough. We need a comprehensive package of actions to tackle the problem at every level, from the stronger penalties due next year, to tougher enforcement, combined with a greater focus on engaging drivers themselves on the issue in an effort to make them want to change their own behaviour – and in turn make our roads safer.”