Many drivers in the United Kingdom are unaware of the repercussions of using a mobile phone when driving or even while just in the car. In fact new research suggests that a shocking 66% do not know the correct penalty fine amount.
Did you know that it is not just illegal to use a phone in a moving car, but also while stationary?
The changing law
Mobile driving laws have been in place for sixteen years. It is illegal to use your phone, or even pick it up while in the driver’s seat. You cannot use your phone at traffic lights, while queueing, while supervising a learner driver or when buying food at a Drive-Thru.
· 2003- The first law was brought in stating ‘it is illegal to use a handheld mobile devise while driving a vehicle’
· 2007- The first penalty increase brought the fine to £60 (previously £30), and 3 points on your license
· 2013- The fine increased to £100, still with 3 points on your license
· 2017- The fine increased to £200 and added 6 points to your license (This means new drivers could lose their license as they are only allowed a maximum of 6 points)
If a case against you goes to court, you will face a maximum fine of £1,000 or £2,500 for lorry or bus drivers.
Mobile safety and GPS
Phones can be used for GPS tracking if they are stored in a secure hands-free holder on the dashboard. They must not block the view of the driver or be on the middle of the car window. You can also answer the phone via Bluetooth if you need to use the phone while travelling or you can input a two-way radio system to contact people.
However, if you are going to use these devises then stay safe, police can still penalise you if you are deemed to be distracted or driving dangerously.
Advise and Apps
There are a lot of people still using mobile phones despite them being linked to car accidents and even death. This year Fleet News reported that 34% of people admit to using a phone, which stretched to 58% of those between 18 and 24. These people say they use their phone mostly for navigation, changing music, texts and calls.
The most common reasons to not use a phone are to avoid an accident, worries about facing a driving ban and the chance of increases to your insurance, according to Fleet News. The best ways to ignore your phone, or use it safely are;
· Keep your phone in your glovebox or bag
· Use your phone’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ function, which only allows calls to come through after the person has called you once already (usually within a few minutes depending on your phone)
· Put your phone on a ‘Disable when driving’ setting which means a message comes on screen if you try and use it while moving
· Switch it off/Switch it on to Flight Mode
· Use Bluetooth so you can answer your phone hands-free in the car
According to a 2019 One Poll investigation, fixed penalty fees fell by 34%, meaning less people were penalised for accidents involving a phone. Their findings also showed that 59% said penalty fines made them more careful to not use their phones. A further 61% of drivers were more careful because they were scared about facing a driving ban. And 70% said they were more careful to reduce the risk of an accident and not use a mobile phone.
Next time you are out driving a vehicle, remember you are breaking the law if you use a mobile devise without hands-free or whilst still being able to drive safely. The penalties are constantly increasing and are there to protect your life and others. Drivers can be convicted if they use a mobile while driving and their car insurance would increase if prosecuted.