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No phones

Government considers blocking mobile phones in cars

No phones

Government considers blocking mobile phones in cars

Mobile phones could soon be rendered useless whilst being used in a moving car in an attempt to reduce the number of road traffic accidents caused by drivers using the devices while in control of a vehicle.

The government and the Department for Transport (DfT) is believed to be considering ways in which it could implement software that would block all phone signals and internet connections for drivers.

Campaigners in favour of the move are hoping that one day, making phone calls, texting and using social media at the wheel will become as socially unacceptable as such safety hazards as drink driving and not wearing seat belts.

The technology behind the software in question would make smartphones essentially useless by disabling all functions that require a telephone network signal or internet connection. Ministers from the DfT are set to meet both car manufacturers and mobile phone firms in the new year to discuss potential plans.

The DfT feels that this move is necessary after statistics revealed that almost one in every three motorists admitted to using their mobile phones whilst driving. Furthermore, 17,500 drivers were taken to court last year over charges relating to unsafe driving and using devices at the wheel, which is illegal.

Campaigners are rallying for this technology and for attitudes to change as a survey from automotive service, RAC revealed that 20% of motorist believe that it was safe to send texts and check their social media accounts while sat in traffic, even though the law forbids these actions.

In order to make phones and driving a safer combination, smartphone manufacturers have been called upon to create and implement a ‘drive safe’ mode into their devices. Ihe idea of this mode would be similar to the already widely used ‘flight mode’. ‘Drive safe’ mode would block all texts, calls and emails for being accessed in order to prevent drivers from becoming distracted.

A spokesman for the DfT says that the organisation has plans to double the penalties for drivers who continue to break the law in hope that it would see them resist the urge to take out their mobiles while behind the wheel.

The government has already upped the penalties given to those who fail adhere to the law and use their phones while driving. This includes six penalty points against the driver’s license and a £200 fine. It could result in some serious implications for new drivers, who could be automatically banned from driving.

Whilst it is widely acknowledged that the UK’s adult population are addicted to smartphone use, fiddling with a mobile device when behind the wheel is clearly reckless. Are we that addicted to our phones that we cannot leave them be for the duration of a car journey?

Alan Littler

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