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Mobile Phones (Accidents)

Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent research he has conducted about the number of (a) fatalities and (b) serious injuries arising from accidents in which a driver involved was using a mobile phone; and if he will make a statement. [100389]

A wide body of research provides clear evidence of an increased risk of an accident when using a mobile phone while driving. A recent report, "The risk of using a mobile phone while driving", commissioned by the Department from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, contains a review of such research. It also summarises 19 cases reported in the UK press between 1988 and 2001 where a death could be attributed to a driver using a mobile phone. The report may be viewed at www.rospa.com/pdfs/road/mobiles/report.pdf.Two research projects currently under way will help to establish the likely numbers of road traffic accidents involving mobile phones. One involves in-depth analysis of police fatal road accident reports that identify distraction as a possible contributory factor. A report is expected in the summer. The other involves on-the-spot studies of accidents in order to improve the understanding of the influences of human involvement, vehicle and highway design on accident causation and injury mechanisms. A database is expected to be available from the autumn.