Accident prevention chiefs have warned that road users are still being "needlessly killed" through the flouting of mobile phone rules five years after they were enforced.
The law, which bans the use of hand-held phones while driving, was introduced on December 1 2003.
In 2007, illegal mobile phone use contributed to 23 fatal accidents, as well as 64 serious-injury and 259 slight-injury accidents.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said research had revealed a reduction in the number of motorists using mobile phones, including a fall after harsher penalties were brought in last year.
However, Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the society, said he was disappointed that people were still being needlessly killed and injured on our roads because calls or text messages are deemed more important than someone's life.
He added: "Our advice to drivers is clear: switch off your phone when you get behind the wheel and let voicemail do its job."
He also urged employers to make this part of their road-risk policy.
According to research from RoSPA, using a mobile while driving - whether hand-held or hands-free - made motorists four times more likely to crash.
Copyright © Press Association 2008