Drivers urged to ignore their phones

January 25, 2019

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging every driver to accept that using a mobile phone while at the wheel is not only illegal but also far too risky.

The current penalty of a £200 fine with six penalty points was introduced on March 1, 2017. But figures released by the Department for Transport reveal there are still unacceptably high levels of illegal phone use among drivers, with 37 per cent of drivers believing the chance of getting caught is minimal, and 52 per cent not concerned about the impact of getting caught.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth says holding and using any device while in control of a car is a potentially lethal distraction. He appeals for all drivers to understand the unacceptable level of risk that goes with using a phone while at the wheel.

“Being distracted while driving – whether by something inside the car, something outside the car, something inside your head or an action that’s not connected with the primary task of driving – is a major cause of crashes and road deaths.

“Using a hand-held phone while driving is a serious offence. But using any mobile device, even in hands-free mode, is a potentially lethal distraction, first of all because of the physical tasks – such as keying in characters on your phone or scrolling through information.

“It’s also mentally distracting. You only have 100 per cent concentration, so if you allow yourself to take part in a conversation or try to read and respond to data on your phone, you’re seriously reducing your ability to focus on the journey, on the road ahead and on the hazards that may be developing.

“The good news is that every driver can take responsible steps to leave their phone alone and to minimise all other distractions on a journey.

“You wouldn’t do it on your driving test, you wouldn’t do it with a police officer watching… so ask yourself is there anything that makes it any less risky or foolish just because the police aren’t there? The answer is no. It is irresponsible and puts not only your own safety at risk, but the safety of those who happen to be sharing the road space with you.

“By never using your phone on journeys, you will not only be staying legal, you will also be giving yourself the very best chance to react early to hazards – a vital part of keeping yourself safe.”

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