Station Officer Laura Pratt from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service explains the potential consequences of using a mobile phone whilst driving.
A lot of research shows that using a hand-held or hands-free mobile phone while driving is a significant distraction, and greatly increases the risk of the driver crashing.
Drivers who use a mobile phone whether hand-held or hands-free:
are four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves and/or other people
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
feel more stressed and frustrated.
Using a hands-free phone while driving does not significantly reduce the risks 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.
Remember is isn’t just speaking – texting and using smartphones can be even more distracting than talking on your phone.
What is the punishment?
•if you are caught it’s a £60 fine and three points and if you are caught twice you will lose your license
•if you cause an accident and kill someone you are likely to go to prison
•Police will check phone records when investigating a fatal collision or serious injury
It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or device while driving. This includes Sat-navs. It is also an offence to “cause or permit” a driver to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
It can be illegal to use a hands-free phone while driving. Depending upon the individual circumstances, drivers could be charged with ‘failing to have proper control of their vehicle’.