IAM RoadSmart is calling for car makers and smartphone manufacturers to work with the Government to develop a technological solution to address the problem of distracted drivers.
In a press release issued yesterday (5 Jan), the road safety charity says simply hoping drivers will ‘do the right thing’ when it comes to using a mobile phone is ‘not enough’.
IAM RoadSmart is advocating a ‘carrot or stick’ approach in which companies are offered incentives to ensure their employees use signal blocking apps, and drivers face consequences if the app is not switched at the time of a crash.
Last month, it was widely reported that the DfT is considering new technology that would block a mobile signal in a moving vehicle, preventing users from making calls and sending and retrieving texts and emails.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “It isn’t enough for the providers of this technology to simply say ‘it is up to the individual’.
“Every phone in use today already comes with a driving mode that can cut out calls, but they are very rarely used. This would suggest that ‘carrots or sticks’ may be needed to actually get people to use any new approach.
“Carrots could come in the form of incentives for companies to fit new apps or to ensure their employees switch off on the go. For example, no government contracts unless you have a ‘no mobile phone use’ policy in place
“Sticks could come in the form of new penalties, but also links to insurance so your level of cover is reduced if you don’t have the new app switched on when you have a crash.”
Talking about the required technology, Neil Greig added: “The actual detail of the new technology will have to be worked out.
“But with accurate GPS and more sensitive movement sensors in most phones, it should be possible to target the driver’s phone whilst still allowing the ever growing range of connected car services such as sat-nav and traffic/tourist information.”
Want to know more about mobile phones and road safety?
Online library of research and reports etc – visit the Road Safety Knowledge Centre
Key facts and summaries of research reports – visit the Road Safety Observatory