A grieving mum is pressing on with her campaign to force Parliament to consider banning everyone from talking on phones while driving.
Alice Husband (42) lives with the heartbreak of losing her son, Seth (7), after he was knocked down by a driver talking “hands-free”.
The mum forgave the driver, saying it was an accident that could have happened to any one of us who has so far been told talking hands-free is safe and legal. But she says research proves drivers’ reaction times are slowed by phone chat and she doesn’t want anyone else to lose a loved one in the way she did.
Alice’s petition to Parliament passed the 10,000 signatures threshold to force an official response, which said a rule in the Highway Code already tells us that “it is far safer not to use any telephone while you are driving or riding”.
But that isn’t enough for the Tydd St Mary mum who is repeating her plea for people to share her petition so it goes viral and she gets the 100,000 signatures needed to force a parliamentary debate.
Alice told us: “I don’t think the Highway Code rule goes far enough because it’s not a clear enough message, whereas we all know we should not drink and drive.”
While Alice is grateful to the people who have signed, some continue to argue “hands-free” is safe – and one person refused to change his mind because he had spent £75 on a hands-free kit.
“People are still trying to argue with the evidence,” said Alice.
Seth, known as Smiler, was fatally injured on December 5, 2014, as he crossed the road to go home after posting a letter. A coroner concluded that a driver’s mobile phone chat had contributed to his tragic death.
• National road safety charity Brake recently highlighted new research in support of its campaign for a ban on “dangerous hands-free phones”.
The research showed hands-free phone conversations use the brain’s visual capacity resulting in “drivers missing road hazards that they might otherwise have spotted”.
The research added to another study that showed driver reaction times are 30 per cent slower while using hands-free – and it can have the same effect as driving with certain levels of alcohol.
You can sign Alice’s petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/132875