Britain’s Department for Transport is understood to be involved in exploratory talks with mobile phone companies to see if phones could be blocked from working in cars which are being driven.
The suggestion comes following high numbers of accidents which have involved mobile phone use behind the wheel. According to recent statistics, a third of drivers have admitted to using their phone while driving during 2016, even though it is illegal. Last year, a total of 17,500 people were taken to court for the offence.
Department for Transport officials have now set up a meeting, to take place early in the New Year, to discuss technology to prevent people from being able to make or take calls, text or use the internet while their car is moving.
Ministers are set to talk about using cutting edge technology so it is impossible to use a phone while moving. Currently, it is not clear whether the software could stop phones of passengers working. Also, there will clearly be implications involved to ensure that emeregency services can still be called.
Campaigners expressed shock at the number of people still using mobile phones at the wheel and want to make it as socially unacceptable an offence as drink driving now is.
Smartphone makers are set to be called upon to create a mode for safe driving in the same way that devices have a flight mode option. Earlier this year, the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling introduced tougher punishments for people caught using their phone while driving. The offence is now punishable with a £200 fine and six penalty points, which also would result in their insurance premiums going up dramatically.
New drivers who use mobile phones will be banned from driving if caught, while drivers who cause a death on the roads as a result of their mobile phone use could face life in jail.
However, Lord Woolf, who is a former lord chief justice, said ministers should stop creating more offences because the number of prisoners within the British prison system continues to soar.