The Risks of Using Your Mobile Phone Whilst Driving

Did you know that using a handheld mobile phone while driving has been illegal since 2003? And earlier this year, the government tightened the laws surrounding the use of a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel of a car, with new fines being introducing and increased penalty points for those who continue to ignore the law.

Is that call worth the risk? Many motorists simply do not recognise the risks that bestow them from simply answering that call, or quickly reading that text message. But this lapse of concentration, just for a split second could cause an accident, not only putting your own life at risk but the lives of other road users and pedestrians too.

Since March, drivers have faced harsh penalties if they are seen using a mobile phone at the wheel of a car, even if stationary in traffic, or at traffic lights. Here, we run through how important it is to use your phone responsibly in the car, and what you can do to be safe on the road and avoid penalties.

The Risks

A recent report by the RAC showed a shocking uplift in motorists using their phones whilst driving, increasing by 8% from 2014 to 2016 to 31% of road users today.

Whilst you might get lucky one or two times, nothing happens and you might start to feel confident checking your phone whilst you are driving, as the old saying goes it is better to be safe than sorry. We all know the obvious risks of using your phone behind the wheel, but the number of people admitting to using their hand-held devices behind the wheel is growing at an alarming rate. But you aren’t only putting your own life at risk, but also the lives of others.

You could be lucky once or twice and end up back home safe and sound, but you never know what is going to happen. And even if you don’t cause an accident, there are other risks:

If you get caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel of your car within the first two years of driving, you will lose your licence immediately. Is that worth the risk? Car insurance premiums for young drivers can be extortionate, therefore it is not worth adding to this by doing something as foolish as using your phone whilst you are driving – checking a quick text or going on social media, even when in stationery traffic could put you in danger, in more than one way.

Motorists caught using their mobile-phones behind the wheel now face heftier fines than ever before following a crack down by the government and police forces across the country.

  • 6 penalty points
  • £200 fine on the spot

You could also be taken to court where you’d face a maximum fine of £1,000, and being banned for life.

Using Hands-Free Devices Responsibly

If you need to use your phone for the sat-nav function, or to take a call whilst you are driving, it must be correctly set up before you set off. Even typing in details to your sat-nav can mean that you will face a penalty if caught. 

You must have a blue-tooth device, or your car must be equipped with hands-free capabilities, including a dashboard holder and voice control. The law still applies whilst you are in traffic or stationery in a traffic jam.

Research shows that taking a phone-call whilst you are driving for longer than five minutes may mean that your lack of concentration on the road could increase the potential of an accident by 5 times, therefore if you have hands-free capability in your car then it is perfectly legal to take a call, but you must ensure it is set up properly before you set off driving.

Finally, if you don’t have hands-free, but you think you aren’t going to be able to ignore your phone for the duration of your journey, keep it in a bag or pop it in the glove box, this way it is hidden away and limits distractions.

Have you been caught on your mobile-phone whilst driving and are facing higher premiums due to points on your licence? Contact City Insurance today to speak to a friendly professional about your options.