The Times, Sean O’Neill, 9 June 2014.
Study shows that motorists’ reactions are 26 per cent slower when speaking on a hands-free mobile, and 37 per cent slower when texting
The penalty for using a mobile phone while driving could be increased after research showed that texting and talking had a greater impact on reaction times than drink and drugs.
A study of drivers aged 17 to 24 by the Transport Research Laboratory showed that motorists’ reactions were 26.5 per cent slower when speaking on a hands-free mobile, and 37 per cent slower when texting at the wheel.
Previous research showed that reaction times slowed by 13 per cent when drivers were at the drink-drive limit and by 21 per cent after using cannabis.
Using a handheld mobile slowed reaction times by 46 per cent and drivers were far more likely to swerve when texting than when high on cannabis.
The Department for Transport said that it would consider the research in its discussions with the Ministry of Justice on court penalties. A spokesman said: “Using a mobile phone while driving can ruin lives so we are determined that we take strong action.”
The fine for using a phone while driving is £100, up to a maximum of £1,000.