Road users are still being "needlessly killed" through the flouting of mobile phone rules five years after they were introduced, accident prevention chiefs said today.
A new law banning the use of hand-held phones while driving was brought in on December 1 2003.
Last year, there were 23 fatal accidents, as well as 64 serious-injury and 259 slight-injury accidents, involving illegal mobile phone use.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which campaigned for the mobiles law, said today that observational research had revealed a reduction in the number of motorists using mobile phones since 2003, including a fall after harsher penalties for breaking the law were introduced last year.
But the society's road safety head Kevin Clinton said: "It is disappointing that people are still being needlessly killed and injured on our roads because telephone calls or text messages are deemed more important than someone's life.
"Our advice to drivers is clear: switch off your phone when you get behind the wheel and let voicemail do its job, and we urge employers to make this part of their road-risk policy."
RoSPA said research shows that using a mobile at the wheel - whether hand-held or hands-free - made drivers four times more likely to crash.
Drivers caught using a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel face a £60 fine and three penalty points on their licence.Reuse content