The penalties for using a mobile phone while driving

The penalties for using a mobile phone while driving

There’s no getting away from the fact that using your mobile phone while driving is illegal and incredibly dangerous.

Yet despite highly publicised Government-backed awareness campaigns and the hefty increase in penalties, too many people still underestimate the risks of using a mobile phone while driving. 

Rohit Makol From the Digital team
4
minute read
posted

Yet drivers are still using mobiles behind the wheel

According to the RAC’s 2017 Report on Motoring, there’s been a significant drop in the number of drivers admitting to making or receiving calls on hand-held devices: from 31% in 2016 to 23% in 2017.

Overall, 40% of drivers named hand-held mobile phone use as one of their top four road safety concerns.

Despite the introduction of tougher penalties and awareness of the dangers through campaigns such as the RAC’s Be Phone Smart campaign, one in five UK motorists still flout the law by using a handheld mobile while driving. 
 
Since the new penalties came into force, more than 26,000 motorists have been stopped by police for using their mobiles while driving.

And it’s not just mobile phones that are causing concern. Smartwatches are thought to pose an even greater risk to drivers. Research has found that checking smartwatches while driving can cause drivers to lose concentration and react more slowly to hazards on the road.

Yet drivers are still using mobiles behind the wheel

What is the law for using a mobile phone while driving?

It’s illegal to hold a phone in your hand while driving – even if you just pick it up for a moment. 

Using a handheld mobile is considered a distraction which, according to the law, prevents you from staying in full control of your vehicle.  

The mobile phone driving law also applies if:

  • you stop at traffic lights
  • you’re stuck in a traffic jam
  • your vehicle is in automatic ‘stop-start’ mode
  • you’re a passenger who is supervising a learner driver

The only times you are legally allowed to use a handheld mobile in your car are:

  • if you’re safely parked (not in traffic)
  • if you need to call 999 emergency services and it’s not safe to stop

What about hands-free devices?

You’re allowed to use your phone if it’s set up correctly with a hands-free device such as a:

  • bluetooth headset
  • built-in voice command computer
  • dashboard cradle
  • windscreen mount
  • built-in sat nav

Make sure any devices attached to the windscreen or dashboard don’t obscure your view of the road.

What about hands-free devices?

How could a mobile phone penalty affect your car insurance?

Motorists don’t just have a hefty fine to worry about. A CU80 mobile penalty could also result in higher insurance premiums of up to 40% when it comes to renewing their car insurance. 

Some insurance providers may even refuse to insure a driver with a CU80 mobile offence.

So, if you want to keep yourself and others safe as well as avoiding hefty penalties, don’t use a handheld mobile when driving.  

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