In Britain, tougher penalties for using mobile phones while driving are being considered by the government after research showed that it slowed a driver’s reactions more than drink or drugs.
Robert Goodwill, the road safety minister, said he would take up the issue with the Ministry of Justice after The Sunday Times showed him the results of a study by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).
It found that a driver’s reaction times slowed by 46% when he or she was making a call on a hand-held mobile, by 37% when texting while driving and by 27% during hands-free calls.
For those on the drink-drive limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, reaction times were reduced by 13%. For those who had used cannabis it was 21%. Goodwill said: “I will see if we need to change the penalties.”