HC Deb 17 June 2003 vol 407 cc205-6
10. Linda Gilroy (Plymouth, Sutton)

What action he is taking to tackle road safety issues arising from drivers using mobile phones. [119411]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. David Jamieson)

We consulted last year on a proposal to ban the use of hand-held mobile phones by drivers. We plan to make an announcement on the way forward as soon as possible.

Linda Gilroy

I am sure that my hon. Friend is aware that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says that one in four drivers admit to using a mobile phone or texting while driving. May I urge him to bring those proposals forward as a matter of urgency? In the mean time, will he join me in congratulating the police in Plymouth and Devon on the campaign that they ran last month, using existing powers to crack down on inappropriate phone use? Does he agree with Plymouth's road safety officer, PC Duncan Russell, that "missing a call won't kill you, but having an accident may"?

Mr. Jamieson

I thank my hon. Friend. She will be pleased to know that we share her concerns. I pay tribute to the work that she has done on the matter. She said that one quarter of people admitted to using a mobile phone at some time for making a call or texting. We know that at any one time, one in 40 people are using a mobile phone while they are driving, and putting themselves and others at risk. I applaud the efforts being made by Devon and Cornwall police using the current law. My hon. Friend will not have to wait very long before the Government make an announcement on the matter, which is of great public concern.