It is illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving.
● If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200. If you are a professional driver then you could face fines of up to £2,500.
● HGV and PSV drivers caught using their mobile twice or accruing 12 points on their licence will face the magistrates’ court.
● Drivers will also be referred to the Traffic Commissioner and could face a minimum four-week suspension from professional driving.
● Operator licence holders may also face action from a Traffic Commissioner, if one of their driving employee’s is caught using a handheld device behind the wheel to speak to their employer or customers.
Hands free mobile phone use is legal but it is distracting and can therefore be dangerous. Depending upon the individual circumstances, drivers could be prosecuted with ‘failing to have proper control of their vehicle’.
Why is using a phone while driving dangerous?
● It is a mental distraction – driving while using your phone requires you to concentrate on two ‘thinking’ tasks at once which our brains are not programmed to do effectively.
● It is a physical distraction – holding your phone leaves only one hand in control of the steering wheel.
● It is a visual distraction – taking your eyes off the road creates a driving blind spot. If you glance at your phone for 2 seconds driving at 30mph, you can miss 100ft of road.
How does this affect my driving performance?
Drivers who use a mobile phone, whether handheld 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
● are more likely to ‘tailgate’ the vehicle in front
● react more slowly and take longer to brake
● are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic
What should drivers do?
● The practice of vocational licence holders using a hand held mobile phone, and especially whilst driving a HGV or PSV, is unacceptable and presents an undue risk to road safety. Professional
drivers have a responsibility to maintain a high standard of driving to ensure the safety of other, more vulnerable road users.
● Where possible, it’s recommended that drivers avoid any mobile phone use behind the wheel. Put your phone away before driving to avoid temptation.
● If you need to make or receive a hands free call, then ensure a secure system such as voice activation or bluetooth is in place, allowing you to keep both hands on the wheel.
● If you need to use your hands free phone for navigation then it should be securely mounted e.g. in a cradle, and not obscuring your view of the road.
● If you are being encouraged by your employer to use your phone while driving in an unsafe way, then raise concerns with your line manager.
What should employers do?
As part of recruitment, training and staff appraisal, employers should remind drivers and line managers about the following:
● The dangers of using a handheld or hands free mobile phone while driving.
● The organisation’s policy on mobile phone use.
● It is never appropriate to use your phone to text, email, check social media or take photos while driving.● It is never in any circumstances appropriate to use your phone to search/select music choices while driving.
● The importance for managers to lead by example and ensure their own driving behaviour is compliant.
● The organisation will co-operate with police enquiries resulting from a crash and will supply to the police with all relevant information on the employee to whom the vehicle is allocated.
● The need to report any pressure from managers or customers to use a phone while driving.