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Drivers urged to ditch mobile phones

Close up of woman using a phone while driving18/11/13

By Kev Kiernan

This year's Road Safety Week is calling for motorists to abandon once and for all the idea of using a mobile phone while driving.

The plea from road charity Brake is being supported by police chiefs in England and Wales.

Put your phone in the boot

The Road Safety Week campaign, which was launched on 18 November, is urging drivers to either turn their phone off or even stick it in the boot before setting out in their vehicle.

Others should refuse to have a conversation with anyone using their phone while they are driving.

A survey suggests that 575,000 motorists in the UK have had their licence endorsed with points for allowing themselves to be distracted while behind the wheel, usually by using a phone.

Of this total, 6.5 per cent have collected at least six points on their licence for committing such an offence.

Around two-thirds of children aged between seven and 11 say they have been in a car with someone using the phone while they are supposed to be driving.

Don't multi-task while driving

Brake says other research also finds that 98 per cent of motorists are simply unable to combine tasks while behind the wheel without it worsening their driving performance.

It also found activities such as making phone calls, texting, eating and smoking while driving all make a road crash more likely to occur.

The charity's deputy chief executive Julie Townsend said: "We're living in an age when being constantly connected is the norm.

"More and more of us have smartphones and find it hard to switch off, even for a minute.

Concentrate on the road

"While there are enormous benefits to this new technology, it's also posing dangerous temptations to drivers to divert their concentration away from the critical task at hand.

"Many people who wouldn't dream of drink-driving are succumbing to using their phone and other distractions while driving, oblivious that the effect can be similar and the consequences just as horrific."

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