The report, entitled 'The risk of using a mobile phone while driving', was produced by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents for the Department of Transport. It recommends examining the effect in other countries of such a law and a start to discussions with the police over legislative detail. In Japan, a ban has seen the number of crashes occurring while the driver was on the phone drop by more than a half in a year, from 2,830 to 1,351 incidents.
Countries that already ban mobile use on the move include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Eire, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.
The Government will have to look overseas for figures on mobile phone-related accidents because, the report said: 'The lack of accident data in the UK is preventing an accurate assessment of the number of people killed or injured in accidents involving the use of a mobile phone by a driver.'
It recommended that police accident forms be amended to include details about phone usage in order that data can be compiled about risk, and that surveys be carried out by the Government on a regular basis to monitor phone usage.
The report also said that employers should 'adopt, implement and monitor clear policies to ensure their staff do not use mobile phones, hand-held or hands-free, while driving for work purposes', and called on the Government to conduct publicity campaigns to educate the public of the dangers of using phones on the move.
Recently, Transport Minister David Jamieson admitted that 'if drivers cannot be persuaded not to use mobile phones while driving, the Government accepts that new legislation may be necessary.'