Ban on drivers backed by mobile users

A recent survey suggests that mobile phone users are in favour of banning drivers from phoning and texting at the wheel

The vast majority of mobile phone owners believe drivers should be banned from using their handsets while at the wheel.

According to a survey by Mobile Choice magazine, 80 percent of phone owners would support legal moves to outlaw in-car phone use -- even though one quarter of the respondents admitted they had sent text messages while at the wheel.

One in 20 of those surveyed said they had come close to crashing while using their phones. Independent research has shown that motorists using mobiles are four times more likely to be involved in an accident than other drivers.

Huw Morgan, editor of Mobile Choice, said: "The survey shows that an overwhelming number of mobile users are in favour of a change in the law. But this doesn't have to mean a ban on all communication in cars as there are a number of technologies designed specifically with safety in mind."

In August, the government proposed that people who are caught on their mobiles while driving should get points on their licence, and ultimately face a ban. Employers who let staff use their handsets in cars during the course of the working day could also face prosecution if the government gets its way.

The consultation period for these proposals is ongoing, with a decision expected some time in November.

Under the current law, motorists can only be prosecuted if they fail to keep proper control of their vehicle. Using a mobile phone per se is not unlawful.

If it moves, we cover it. See ZDNet UK's Mobile Technology News Section for the latest news, reviews and price checks on mobile phones, PDAs, notebook computers and anything else you can take away.

Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Go to the ZDNet news forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom.