Ban phone calls while driving says mum whose seven year old was killed by a motorist in Tydd Gote using her mobile
- Credit: Archant
A mum is campaigning for a ban on all phone calls while driving after her seven year old son was killed by a woman talking hands free on a mobile while behind the wheel.
Alice Husband is urging for a change in the law with a petition which has gathered more than 4,000 signatures.
The Government has this month announced that it plans to double the penalties for using a mobile while driving from three points and a £100 fine to six points and a £200 fine.
Alice, of Tydd Gote, said: “Lives are too precious, Seth was too precious, saving life needs to be put before a phone call.
“Seth died after being hit by a car in December 2014 and he may have lived if the driver had not been chatting on the phone.
“We do know she would have been distracted, thus her reaction time slowed and the coroner found this contributed to his death.
“We need to change the law to ban all mobile phone calls. It needs to be shown that it is as unacceptable as drink driving.”
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Alice has made a programme with Inside Out East, due to be aired soon, and says if her petition reaches the 100,000 mark then: “I’ll definitely be heading to Westminster and Parliament.”
Road charity BRAKE says talking on a hands-free creates delayed reaction times which are just as dangerous as drink driving.
A spokesman said: “If you talk on a phone at the wheel – hands-free or hand-held – your risk of causing an injury or death is four times as high.
“Use a phone to text, email or browse the internet and the risk is much higher.
“A huge proportion of drivers put themselves and others in danger for the sake of a call or message, whether flouting the law by using a hand-held phone, or wrongly believing that hands-free is a safe alternative.
“Some drivers mistakenly believe talking on a hands-free kit at the wheel is safe, because it is still legal in the UK.
“Research shows the call itself is the main distraction, not holding the phone.
“Brain scanning has confirmed that speaking on a hands-free phone makes you less alert and less visually attentive.
“Some people dispute the risks of hands-free phone use, claiming that talking on a phone is no different to talking to a passenger.
“However, drivers with chatty passengers perform nearly as safely as drivers with silent passengers. This is partly because conversations with passengers come to a natural pause when approaching hazards, as the passenger can see when the driver needs to concentrate.”
In June, Amy Asker, 33, was fined £90 and given five points on her licence after hitting Seth in her green Ford Mondeo as he crossed a road outside his home in December 2015. He died from head injuries.
Senior coroner for south Lincolnshire Paul Cooper said: “I believe her using the phone while driving contributed to the child’s death.”
• BRAKE says reading and writing messages while driving takes your mind, hands and eyes off the road- drivers have slower reaction times and poor lane control. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to crash than a driver paying full attention.
• BRAKE advises drivers to put their phones on silent and put them out of sight and reach to avoid temptation to check them.
• REACTION TIMES BY THE TRANSPORT RESEARCH LABORATORY: Drink driving reaction times are 13 per cent slower, cannabis use 21 per cent, talking hands-free 27 per cent, texting 37 per cent, hand held phone calling 46 per cent slower reaction times.
• Sign Alice’s petition
• Find out about BRAKE’s #Drivesmart campaign.