Mother calls for total mobile ban for drivers after son's death

Seth Dixon Image copyright Alice Husband
Image caption Seth was killed while crossing the road outside his home in Tydd St Mary, Lincolnshire

A mother whose son was killed by a driver using a hands-free phone is calling for a total ban on mobile use for drivers.

Seth Dixon, seven, was hit by a car driven by a woman while she was chatting to a friend using her mobile phone's loudspeaker function, in 2014.

Seth's mother, Alice Husband, has launched a petition.

The government said current legislation means drivers distracted by the use of hands-free sets can be prosecuted.

Road safety campaigners at the time criticised magistrates - the driver admitted careless driving in the crash at Tydd St Mary, Lincolnshire, and was fined £90 and given five points on her licence.

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Mrs Husband said driving hands-free could be as bad as drink-driving.

She said: "Research is showing us how it impedes on your driving ability to use a phone hands-free.

"Unlike having a passenger in the seat next to you, it's about the conversation you are having - it takes more thought - and the person at the other end of the phone is not aware of the situation you are in."

Image copyright Alice Husband
Image caption A petition started by Seth's family needs to attract 100,000 signatures to secure a debate in Parliament

In response to Mrs Husband's petition, which has attracted more than 11,500 signatures, the government said it planned to introduce tougher new penalties in 2017.

But it is yet to say whether any changes to legislation will include a ban on hands-free devices.

The government will launch its Think! Campaign next year, aimed at making mobile phone use whilst driving as socially unacceptable as drink driving.

Drivers using mobiles 'more likely to crash'

  • Drivers who perform a secondary task at the wheel, such as using a mobile, are up to three times more likely to crash
  • Reaction times are 30% slower while using a hands-free phone than driving with a blood alcohol level of 80mg per 100ml blood - the current drink-drive limit
  • Research shows a "chatty" passenger will usually moderate the conversation when road hazards arise, whereas someone on the other end of a phone is oblivious to the other demands on the driver and so keeps talking

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