Today’s report by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) states that motorists react 30 per cent more slowly to hazards when talking on a hand-held mobile than when drunk and 50 per cent more slowly than normal drivers.
Drivers using mobiles pose one of the most serious threats to cyclists and have already caused the death of at least one, claims CTC.
A lorry driver in Norfolk hit and killed cyclist Bruce Bursford two years ago, after being
distracted by his mobile phone and many cyclists are put at risk every day by the negligence of drivers too involved in phone conversations, said a statement from CTC.
Richard Thomas, CTC’s Transport Campaigns Officer said: "The Irish Republic has outlawed the use of hand-held phones whilst driving and at least 35 other countries have a similar ban because they accept that mobile phone use is unsafe.
"The TRL research strengthens our case that drivers should be punished if they use mobile phones. Their use has already been blamed for at least 17 deaths on our roads and could be responsible for many more fatalities and injuries not appearing in official statistics."
MP Janet Anderson’s has tabled a Bill which calls for a ban on drivers using hand-held phones while at the wheel.
"Despite the research, the Government still claims that mobile phone use does not impair driving. If they still refute the evidence that it does, their inaction will show weakness and cowardice in the face of motoring lobby granted too much power," said Thomas.