Tougher penalties have been introduced for drivers using mobile phones.
You could now get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200. Your case could also go to court where you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could face a maximum fine of £2,500. The rules apply if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic and it’s also illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider.
You must stay in full control of your vehicle at all times. The police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted. This includes if you’re using devices like your sat nav or car radio. If you’re the driver, you can only use your phone in a vehicle if you:
- need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop
- are safely parked
Using your phone while driving increases the risk of a serious crash by 4 times and research shows using a phone while driving can be the as same as drink driving.
Driving is a task that requires all your attention. Using a phone while driving is distracting and can lead to:
- Riskier decision making – using a phone while driving affects your judgement and concentration
- Slower reactions – you generally have a slower reaction when using a phone, particularly if you’re deep in conversation. You may take longer to respond to traffic signals or completely miss them
- Slower, less controlled braking – during a phone call, your brake reaction time is slower and you brake with more force and less control
- Not being aware to your surroundings – when using a mobile phone, you spend less time checking mirrors and what’s going on around you. This affects your ability to monitor and negotiate traffic safely
Tips for staying focused on the roads
- Switch your phone to silent or flight mode as soon as you get into the car
- Put your phone out of reach, the glovebox, the boot… anywhere you cannot reach it when driving
- Let everyone know you’re driving ‘phone‐free’ and remove pressure to be in contact
- Phone home before you leave and check if you need to pick something up on the way home
- If you’re driving with passengers, designate a ‘texter’ so you can concentrate on driving
- Pull over and park safely before picking up your phone