Driving on the road without full concentration can be very dangerous. It has long been recognised that using a mobile phone whilst driving causes serious impairment to your concentration levels, not to mention possibly landing you with a hefty fine and points on your licence.
Although penalties have increased for these offences in recent years, the most recent set of changes to the law has made it much more difficult to have any valid reason for using your phone in your car.
The Risk and Stats Of Using A Mobile Phone While Driving
Using your mobile can lead to physical and cognitive distractions. Taking one hand off the wheel to use a phone is clearly an issue, but even the disturbance of concentrating on talking to someone hands-free has been shown to make you much more likely to have an accident.
As smartphones become more an extension of us, there are newer temptations put in our way to use the mobile in the car. Texts, WhatsApp messages, emails and social media alerts all play their part, as do streaming services, video calls and, music.
Perhaps the biggest self-persuasion is that these reasons always feel important, and we are only going to do it on this one occasion, so it’s really important to understand the risks that are involved in using your phone while driving.
- The following should help convince you it’s never a good idea to be distracted by your phone on the road:• Almost half of all drivers between 25-34 admit to making or receiving calls when driving.
• This rises to 57% who admit to using it when the car is stationary with the engine running (at traffic lights for example).
• A staggering 36% of drivers in this age group also admit to sending texts, posting to social media or emailing when driving.
• Using a phone when driving a vehicle makes you four times more likely to have a crash.
• Texting or typing when driving increases this to six times more likely to crash.
• Around 400 crashes a year in the UK can be attributed to using a mobile, many of them serious.
• Men are more likely to offend than women, with commercial vehicles (vans and HGVs) being at the top of that list, as they often feel they ‘need’ to be in touch with people more on the road.
- If you use your mobile when driving, you are more likely to:
• Fail to see road signs;
• Enter unsafe gaps in traffic;
• Be less aware of what’s on the road around you;
• React more slowly, taking longer to brake and stop;
• Drift across lanes;
• Drive at erratic and unpredictable speeds.
What Does The Law Say About Mobile Phone Use When Driving?
What You Can’t Do
- Hold your phone (even when stationary).
- Touch your mobile for any reason, including:
1. Making a call.
2. Receiving a call (technically you may be able to swipe to answer on handsfree, but the Police could decide you were not paying due care and attention).
3. Interact with your phone if it is being used as a SatNav.
4. Scroll through playlists.
What You Can Do
- Use your phone hands-free (although the Police may still stop you if they think being on a call is distracting you).
- Use your phone as a SatNav, providing you set it up before you start your journey.
- Make a call to the emergency services.
What You May Be Able To Do
- Pay using your phone at a drive-through restaurant or toll booth (with touch payment, not online)
What Are The Penalties For Using Your Phone While Driving In 2022?
- A £200 fine
- 6 points on your licence
- If you are caught within 6 months of passing your test, disqualification.