THINK; Switch off.

Mobile phones provide help in an emergency and security BUT:

  • You can not help being distracted by a phone call or text message.
  • Research shows that using a mobile phone while driving means you are four times more likely to crash. (DFT web site October 2010)
  • Research demonstrates that reaction times for drivers using a handheld phone are 30 per cent worse than for driving under the influence of alcohol at the legal limit. (DFT web site October 2010)
  • 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. (Lamble et al, “Cognitive load and detection thresholds in car following situations: safety implications for using mobile (cellular) telephones while driving”, Accident Analysis & Prevention 31, 1999)

Despite this people still use their mobile phones whilst driving BUT:

  • It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device while driving. The penalty is £60 and 3 penalty points. If the case goes to court, it’s a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if driving a bus, coach or heavy goods vehicle), discretionary disqualification and 3 points. (DFT web site October 2010)
  • It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone to access any data, including from the internet.
  • Your insurance costs could also go up. (DFT web site October 2010)
  • You can also be prosecuted for using a hands free mobile phone if you are not in proper control of your vehicle. The penalties are the same as for using a hand held phone. (DFT web site October 2010)
  • The penalties for driving carelessly or dangerously when using a phone can include disqualification, a large fine and up to two years imprisonment.
  • If you are an employer you can be prosecuted if you require employees to make or receive calls when driving. (DFT web site October 2010)

What you can do:

  • Switch off your phone before driving to activate voice mail.
  • If you ring someone on their mobile phone who turns out to be driving when they answer, say you’ll call them later and hang up.
  • Don’t use the phone while driving – even if you are stopped at traffic lights or in a queue of traffic.
  • Do stop in a safe place to use your phone (not on motorway hard shoulders).
  • Do take regular breaks on long journeys and if necessary use the phone during the break.