From December 1st 2003, a law was passed which made it illegal to use a handheld
mobile phone or similar device while driving a vehicle or riding a motorbike. The
reason this law was passed was that after years of research it was concluded that
you are 4 times more likely to crash when using a mobile phone. It was also found
that reaction times are 50% slower whilst using a mobile phone device and therefore
this particular law was passed to reduce the amount of accidents caused by drivers
distracted by their mobile phones.
As you may have previously witnessed, many people still use their mobile phones
whilst driving in disregard for the law. Most people feel that a few words on their
blower wont harm anybody and take a call without thinking twice whilst behind the
wheel, these people probably do not realise that even a split second of losing concentration
can result in disastrous consequences.
Consequences if caught using your phone whilst driving
The consequences for being caught for using your phone whilst driving or riding
is an automatic endorsed fixed penalty notice. You can receive a £100 fine and 3
points on your driving license, if you have had your license for less than 2 years
you are half way to having your license revoked. If your case goes to court you
could even be instantly disqualified and receive a maximum fine of up to £1000,
if you are a bus driver or operate a large goods vehicle you can receive a fine
of up to £2500.
These consequences may seem steep however it should be noted that the risks of using
a mobile phone whilst driving or riding can be equally as steep, and in the worst
cases, even fatal. The possibility of a hefty fine along with a side of 3 points
on your license is there to deter possible offenders, so don’t be silly. Missing
a call won’t kill you, taking that call might.
When is it OK to take a call whilst riding or driving
There are a couple of exceptions where making or taking a call is allowed, if you
have an emergency and need to call 999 or 112 then you are permitted to do so. You
should do your utmost to pull over in a safe place to make an emergency call, however
if it is impractical to park, (like in a red route or motorway without a hard shoulder),
then a swift call can be made whilst driving or riding.
Use of hands free devices
whilst driving or riding
Since using a phone while driving has become illegal, there has been a sudden influx
of hands free devices to hit the market. You are permitted to use a hands free kit
in the form of headphones with a microphone or a Bluetooth headset, however if you
are seen to be distracted or not in full control of your vehicle/bike, then you
can still be penalised.
FINELINES view on using a phone while driving
Fineline Driving Academy is a strong advocate of this law and we make all of our
learners aware of this law from the get go. Taking a call whilst driving is not
only irresponsible, but a reckless thing to do, it should be avoided at all costs.
You can take some measures to help beat the temptation, putting your phone on silent
and out of sight before beginning any journey will prevent any possible interaction
with your phone. Also, if you know someone is driving you should refrain from calling/texting
them as you could be contributing to them breaking the law.