More than 70,000 drivers were caught last year using their mobile phone behind the wheel. It’s been 14 years since the ban on mobile phone use while driving was introduced, but these numbers show than many drivers still don’t understand why the ban was needed and what it does for driver safety.
We should all know by now that mobile phone use behind the wheel can result in a £200 fine and 6 points on your license. If it’s a really bad infringement, you could end up banned from driving altogether and fined up to £1000 (or £2500 as a lorry or bus driver).
An increasing body of academic research shows just how dangerous driving while holding a phone can be. You are four times more likely to be in an accident when driving with a mobile in your hand. In fact, your reaction times are slower when you’re driving and texting, than when you’re drink driving.
Furthermore, some research has shown that even driving while using a Bluetooth or other hands free sets can be just as dangerous. There’s also a growing body of evidence that state headphones could be equally risky. In other words, driving whilst under any kind of distraction isn’t a brilliant idea.
While Bluetooth and hands free sets are allowed under UK law, using your mobile while stopped at traffic lights, in a traffic jam or supervising a learner driver are not. The same ban applies even if you’re not using your phone to text or take a call. So keep your Snapchats off the road. Likewise, if using any kind of Sat-Nav app on your phone, you have to have everything set up before you begin your journey.
The only exception to this rule is when calling 999 in an emergency where it’s simply not possible for you to stop. At all other times, you need to pull over, park up and then take that call.