Drivers back blanket block on mobile phones

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With drivers’ use of mobile phones acknowledged as endemic, two-thirds of motorists believe the Government should introduce technology to disable certain phone functions for the sake of safety.

Blocking devices for all cars was considered a more effective plan than harsher penalties as road users reveal they cannot resist temptation.

Some 46% of drivers admitted in new research released today that they think it's OK to look at their phone when stationary or in slow moving traffic.

The study of 1,000 UK motorists for Continental Tyres’ Vision Zero revealed 11.3 million road users owned up to using a mobile phone illegally.

Reading texts, checking social media and viewing emails is now more common than taking or making a phone call, meaning that as well as the evident distraction in concentration, people are taking their eyes off the road.

Continental Tyres’ safety expert, Mark Griffiths, said: "Our research reveals drivers know their use of phones is illegal, distracting and dangerous yet they cannot help themselves.

"Nearly half - 45% - told us they struggle to be digitally disconnected and 28% felt so many people now checked their mobile in traffic it had become normal."

In addition to the need to improve motorists’ behaviour, it is apparent that people want technology to help deliver the solution and enhance road safety. Some 66% think the Government should enforce a device to disable web-browsing, emails and the ability to send and receive texts.

Of those that admitted to breaking the law, 31% said they had done so in the last month.

Professor John Groeger, a specialist in driver psychology, said: "It is really interesting that motorists want an enforced solution rather than to curb their own behaviour – yet there is no such system currently being promoted in the UK.

"It is imperative we find a way to resolve this as the ‘switch cost’ - the critical time it takes us to shift our concentration from a task like reading a text to again fully engaging in driving is so important in reducing accidents."

Even with the additional safety features being added to cars motorists believe the illegal use of phones when driving is decreasing road safety.

One in three think the situation is getting worse and another 26% think advances in safety through new technology is being cancelled out by our unwillingness to put our phones out of reach.

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