Fleet News

Commons to debate hand-held phone ban

A CAMPAIGNING MP is to try for a second time to secure a ban on the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving.

Janet Anderson, Labour MP for Rossendale and Darwen, has won all-party support for her Private Member's Bill, but a vital second reading in July was postponed when it ran out of time. MPs will now get a second chance to hear about the Bill on November 15.

Anderson said: 'I am confident something will happen, even if my Bill is not passed. An all-party committee will be meeting with Transport Minister David Jamieson to discuss the issue as well.'

To make discussions as straightforward as possible, Anderson has limited her Bill to the use of hand-held phones, as proving use of a hands-free phone is more difficult. Jamieson has already indicated his willingness to take action to discourage mobile phone use in cars, telling MPs in May: 'If drivers cannot be persuaded not to use mobile phones while driving, the Government accepts that new legislation may be necessary.'

If Anderson's Bill is unsuccessful, there could still be plans for a Government-backed Bill to be launched in the Queen's Speech.

A recent report from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, called 'The risk of using a mobile phone while driving', found vital international evidence of the value of a ban.

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.

However, many countries focus solely on use of a hand-held phone while driving. For example, in Victoria, Australia, 18,696 drivers received fines for using hand-held phones.

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