Using a mobile phone
A good driver is completely focused on the road. Always. Using a hand-held or hands-free mobile phone while driving is a distraction and increases the risk of a driver crashing.
Drivers who use a mobile phone whether hand-held or hands-free are:
- four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves and/or other people
- much less aware of what’s happening on the road around them
- more likely not to see road signs
- unlikely to maintain proper lane position and steady speed
- more likely to ‘tailgate’ the vehicle in front
- likely to react more slowly and take longer to brake
- more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic
These risks aren’t just due to busy fingers. Using a hands-free phone while driving is still a big risk as if a driver’s focus is on a phone conversation, their full attention isn’t on the road.
What can you do to be a better driver?
- Be the boss. In your vehicle you’re in charge. Let your passengers/squawking parrots know upfront that you won’t be distracted by phones or other devices in the car. If they muck around, they can find a new ride.
- Put your phone somewhere you can’t see it, hear it or reach it when you’re driving. That way you won’t be distracted by it.
- If you need or want to check your phone, pull over somewhere where it’s safe for you to use it.
- If you’re expecting contact from someone, let them know you’re going to be driving so you’ll be unreachable for a bit.
- Remember how important you are. Don’t let a text, a status update, a share, a meme be the one thing that could potentially destroy your world (and possibly someone else’s).
Hand-held phones – it’s illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or device while driving (including sat-navs). It’s also an offence to “cause or permit” a driver to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
Hands-free phones – It can be illegal to use a hands-free phone while driving. Depending upon the circumstances, drivers could be charged with ‘failing to have proper control of their vehicle’.
What’s the punishment for using a mobile phone when driving?
- The law means you could receive a £200 fine and 6 points.
- If you’re within the first 2 years of passing your test you’ll lose your license and have to retake your theory and practical tests again.
- Possibly prison if you really hurt or kill someone. Police check phone records when investigating a fatal collision or serious injury.
- Lots of employers ask about driving convictions on application forms, so it could mean that you can’t apply for the job you want. Depending on what you do, you could lose your job if you’re convicted.
- If you hurt someone or kill someone, you’ll have to live with that for the rest of your life.