Police action to tackle mobile phone use by drivers

Published 23 January 2017

To help reduce the number of people killed and injured on Britain’s roads by people using a mobile phone whilst driving, the police have today (Monday 23 January) launched a campaign reminding drivers not to use a mobile phone whilst behind the wheel. At the same time, forces are carrying out enforcement activity to catch offenders.

Using a mobile phone while driving means you’re four times more likely to have a crash, and it is one of the biggest causes of accidents on Britain’s roads. To tackle this, the police are running a week-long campaign which launched today and runs until Sunday 29 January, to educate drivers of the dangers of driving whilst using a mobile phone, alongside targeted operations.

Throughout the week the police will be tweeting using the hashtags #itcanwait and #eyesontheroad, reminding drivers both of the penalties if they are caught using a mobile phone, as well as that the risks are more serious than they think. You can follow the campaign on Twitter and don’t forget to share the posts.

Speaking about the campaign, the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said:

“This week forces will be working to make driving distracted as socially unacceptable as drink driving through enforcing strong deterrents and powerful messages to make people think twice about their driving habits.

“Forces will be working throughout the year to tackle this behaviour by motorists with national partners and the public.

“Remember: when at the wheel, your calls or texts can wait. Keep your eyes on the road.”

Advice for drivers

The government’s THINK! road safety campaign has issued the following tips to help you stay safe on the road:

  • Switch your mobile phone off before you drive off
  • Even if you’re using a hands-free phone you should avoid making or answering calls when driving. All phone calls distract drivers' attention from the road.
  • Park safely before using your mobile phone. Do not park on the hard shoulder of the motorway.
  • Don't call other people when they're driving. If you call someone and they tell you they are driving, ask them to call you back when they have parked up safely.

The law

  • It's illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving.
  • This includes using your mobile phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
  • You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
  • If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 3 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100. Points on your licence will result in higher insurance costs.
  • If you get just 6 points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.
  • You may use a hands-free phone while driving but you can still be prosecuted if you’re not in proper control of your vehicle. The penalties are same as being caught using a handheld phone.
  • The penalties for driving carelessly or dangerously when using a handheld or hands-free phone can include disqualification, a large fine and up to two years imprisonment.

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