Driving and mobile phones – they don’t go together!!

mobile phone and drivingA substantial body of research shows that using a hand-held or hands-free mobile phone while driving is a significant distraction, and substantially increases the risk of the driver crashing.

Drivers who use a mobile phone, whether hand-held or hands-free:

  • are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around them
  • fail to see road signs
  • fail to maintain proper lane position and steady speed
  • are more likely to ‘tailgate’ the vehicle in front
  • react more slowly, take longer to brake and longer to stop
  • are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic
  • feel more stressed and frustrated.

They are also four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves and other people.

Using a hands-free phone while driving does not significantly reduce the risks because the problems are caused mainly by the mental distraction and divided attention of taking part in a phone conversation at the same time as driving.

The Law

On 1 December 2003, a law, “The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2003”, came into force to prohibit drivers using a hand-held mobile phone, or similar device, while driving. It also made it an offence to “cause or permit” a driver to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving, or to use a hand-held mobile phone while supervising a driver who only has a provisional licence.

The penalties were initially a fixed penalty of £30 or a fine of up to £1,000 if the offender goes to court (£2,500 for drivers of goods vehicles or passenger carrying vehicles with 9 or more passenger seats). From 27th February 2007, the penalty for using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving increased to £60 and three penalty points added to the drivers’ licence.

It’s simple really – turn ignition ON, turn phone OFF!!