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Mobile phones and driving

Tuesday 6th March, 2012 at 16:03 COMMENTS (0)
Why is it an offence to Use your hand-held mobile phone when driving or riding a vehicle?

Simple answer is, it's dangerous but is it because the phone is being held or due to being distracted and divided attention?

Why using your phone while driving is dangerous
Making or taking phone calls when driving will distract you.  Research shows that if you're using any mobile phone when driving, you're four times more likely to crash.  You also have significantly worse reaction times than someone driving after drinking alcohol at the legal limit. 

To find out how difficult it is to focus on several things while driving, try the Driving Challenge

The Law
On 1 December 2003, a law, "The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No.  4) Regulations 2003", came into force to prohibit drivers using a hand-held mobile phone, or similar device, while driving. 

It also made it an offence to "cause or permit" a driver to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving, or to use a hand-held mobile phone while supervising a driver who only has a provisional licence. 

From 27th February 2007, the penalty for using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving increased to £60 and three penalty points added to the drivers' licence

The Definition of a Hand-Held Mobile Phone
The Regulation includes any "device, other than a two-way radio, which performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data". 
It states that a "mobile telephone or other device is to be treated as hand-held if it is, or must be, held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function".  "interactive communication function" includes: sending texts or viewing the internet. 
There are two exemptions:
· 2- way "press to talk" radios, such as used by the emergency services and taxi drivers
· Using a hand-held phone for a genuine emergency call to 999 or 112 if it would be unsafe for the driver to stop. 

Is the use of a 2- way "press to talk" radios an exemption just because the emergency services use this device and would otherwise be likely to be liable to prosecution?

When you can use a hand-held phone in your vehicle
You should only use your mobile phone in a vehicle if you:
· need to call 999 or 112 in response to a genuine emergency where it's unsafe or impracticable to stop
· are safely parked (but never stop on the hard shoulder of the motorway unless it's an emergency)
· are a passenger

Using hands-free phones, sat-navs and two-way radios when driving
It's not illegal to use hands-free phones, sat-navs (satellite navigation systems) and two-way radios while driving, but they can be a distraction.  You'll face the same penalties as using a phone if the police believe you're not in proper control of your vehicle. 

Drivers who use a mobile phone, whether hand-held or hands-free:
· are much less aware of what's happening on the road around them
· fail to see road signs
· fail to maintain proper lane position and steady speed
· react more slowly, take longer to brake and longer to stop
· are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic

It seems to me then that using a hands-held phone while driving is not necessarily the problem 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. 

Make a booking

Further reading:

 

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