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THINK! Put your phone away while driving

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Safe driving

We’ve all got a responsibility to keep our roads safe. For professional drivers following the law is more important than ever.

The consequences for not following the rules could result in you losing your vocational licence, or in the worst case causing a fatal accident.

From 1 March 2017, the penalties for drivers caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving doubled – to 6 points and a £200 fine.

That’s why THINK! has launched a campaign urging all drivers to put their phone away while driving.

Risks and dangers

Unfortunately, the use of mobile phones while driving remains a problem. 31% of the public admit to using their hand-held mobiles while driving, even though 96% of people agree it’s unacceptable.

We all know how dangerous drink-driving is. But did you know that research shows that you’re twice as likely to crash text-driving as you are drink-driving?

Using your phone while driving is distracting and requires you to concentrate on two ‘thinking’ tasks at once. Our brain is not programmed to do this effectively.

Looking down at your phone for only a few seconds means you’re taking your eyes off the road. This causes a driving blind spot where accidents can happen.  

“Nothing is so important it can’t wait”

In 2006, Zoë Carvin, a 42-year-old teacher and mother of two, was killed when a lorry crashed into her car and two other vehicles. The driver was reading a text message on his phone at the time of the incident.

He was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and sentenced to prison.

As part of THINK!’s campaign, Zoë’s family - Paul, Ben and Emily - share their story of how one driver texting at the wheel changed their lives forever.

You can watch the video below

Put your phone away

Sadly, this isn’t a one-off case. In 2015, 22 people were killed and 99 seriously injured in incidents involving drivers using mobile phones.

Whether you’re an operator licence holder, transport manager or driver, please tell your employees about the change in the law and share our video.

You can remind them that it’s not just 6 penalty points and a £200 fine, Traffic Commissioners can also call professional drivers to conduct hearings for mobile phone offences.

For the first mobile phone offence in a commercial vehicle, the starting point is a 4-week suspension of the driver’s vocational licence.

So whether it’s you or your employees driving, THINK! and put your phone away.

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  1. Comment by Goff Thomas posted on

    The fine is still too low, It should be a minimum £1000 ,automatic driving ban and the phone confiscated and crushed.People put too higher value on their phones

  2. Comment by Trevor posted on

    It would be easy to ignore the positive benefits related to mobile phones and ban their use in moving vehicles totally, irrespective of the inconvenience to passengers. But that may be a utopian view?
    It is inevitable drivers are going to use the technology as long as it is available irrespective of deterrents. Minimising the risk may be a better approach? If hands free systems were outlawed they would not be fitted. As they are currently legal, the regulators appear to regard them as a safer option to hand held usage - common sense? A cradle adaption where the phone is still visible and could be used for texting or information retrieval just adds temptation. The phone needs to be out of view. Voice control systems are available. When to use - when it is safe. - It's a judgement, but that's what drivers do. We issue them with licences if their judgements and driving skills are acceptable and remove their licences if they are not. Ideally emergency calls only. I think most phones now have the facility for ring tones which identify the caller and the ability to block or allow calls. Most calls should go to voicemail.
    The ability to be in contact should a danger or an emergency arise is valuable and can be a contractual requirement even with local authorities.
    Some will abuse any system, many do now. Having identified the hazard and the risk level the next stage is to minimise the risk.

  3. Comment by Mary posted on

    It's not acceptable to use a mobile phone even on Hand Free.
    In 1996 I was involved in a accident when a lorry driver was driving his own car to work.
    He pulled out of a junction on to the main road in front of me.
    He looked to the left but he didn't look to his right & he was turning right.
    He had his mobile phone to his right ear. He had just left his family home & he was talking to his wife over his mobile phone & she heard the crash.
    Well I felt the crash has I was severly injured & I suffered & struggled for months after.
    I had 5 dependent young children at the time.
    I'm very lucky to be alive to tell you this & I'm a coach driver & registered has an advanced driving instructor & every day I see people on their mobile phones.
    Phone Earpieces should not be allowed in any drivers ear.
    All phones should be put away or on silent when we are driving.
    We all have a voice mail service on our mobile phones.
    We don't need to use our mobile phones has a sat navs so don't even have it in a cradle on your windscreen then you won't touch your mobile phone whilst driving. The driver that caused my accident in 1996 admitted he was on his mobile phone & he was distracted.
    He wastaken to court for using his mobile phone whilst driving & driving without due care & attention.
    He recieved a fine & a six month driving ban but for me that wasn't enough.
    He could of killed me & left my children without a Mother.

  4. Comment by Tom mc Carron posted on

    My opinion is that talking on hands free is still an distraction so no phones while driving if you can't pull in and stop let it wait

  5. Comment by Trevor posted on

    It is important to distinguish between hand held and hands free mobile phones and the difference between normal use and texting or information retrieval e.g. looking for directions. Being in contact with drivers can enhance road safety e.g. warnings about road or traffic conditions. Driving to work one morning ice was evident on a route used by our vehicles. The drivers needed to be aware and fast! Phones in glove boxes won't always save lives.
    I managed to warn the drivers before they set off. Forty five minutes later the road was blocked due to a major accident - thankfully not one of ours. So 'think' is right! Mobile phones can be an asset if used safely, work on safe use but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  6. Comment by Mike Jedermann posted on

    I agree entirely with the Comments for harder penalties to deter this stupidity..... then this afternoon I stood at a main road crossing in the city of Exeter and saw a police driver with the mobile phone to his ear, and on the way home, a coach driver on the mobile.

    What's good for us should be good for the police also because this particular driver was not on a call. The Lights were not on and neither was his claxton.
    As for the coach driver.... he was reported to his company by me, because it could have been me, or my family, in his path when he was unable to stop in time!
    Mike Transport Manager
    A Major International Airport

  7. Comment by Linny posted on

    I personally think, that if someone has had an accident and was on or looking at a mobile phone, take their licence away for at least a one or two months and ban them. Then also put 6 points on their licence, and make people aware of what they lost their licence for. There has to be a stronger deterrent to stop drivers using or looking at mobile phones. I say the harder the punishment the better. Drivers need to be aware of the terrible consequences of their actions. Make them resit a driving test, and show them pictures of accidents and how the victims are left behind!!!

  8. Comment by Trevor Ventura posted on

    THINK! It's inexcusable to use your phone whilst driving a vehicle that is patentionally a 'killing machine' if you abuse the rules of the highway code. Accidents do happen from time-to-time and in today's traffic conditions we all need to exercise a heightened awareness to hazard perception and minimalise the risk of a collision. Perhaps communication devices should have a blocking technology in motor vehicles unless a Bluetooth interface is present, but until that inevitably comes into force or technology advances further we all need to take a responsive attitude to the warnings of consequences if we don't! Nobody is perfect at driving and far less so with the added distraction of a mobile phone. It may not happen to you but when it happens to someone else maybe driving their car, that causes a lorry to swerve, that hits a school bus and kills a child and that poor child is your precious one then who truthfully should the blame? Not the bus driver, not the lorry driver not even directly the idiot in the car who caused the effect. You can't blame the mobile phone but you can blame the sheer stupidity of the motorists that seem to think they are above the law. You know who you are, so stop it now before someone else gets harmed by your negligence. 6 points and a £200 fine is a joke! No form of punishment will ever replace a life or repair a broken family and friends. What will it take to finally make people listen? Instant driving ban? £10,000 fine? Imprisonment? I drive professionally and I'm horrified to see HGV vehicles losing lane discipline because of text driving. You can't see that when overtaking in a car, but I can when driving a coach and it scares the hell out of me thinking about the possible causality and effect by one stupid individual's mindless action. THINK! THINK! THINK! NEVER use your phone whilst driving. Pull over to a safe place if you need to use your phone or turn it off altogether. We managed quite well without mobile phone technology before, why just because its conveniently at hand do we need to use it on the road. Road conditions are notoriously full of heavy traffic with incorrect distances between travelling vehicles so why reduce your chances of stopping with a distraction that can wait. PLEASE just THINK!

    • Replies to Trevor Ventura>

      Comment by Mary posted on

      View You Tube
      National Holiday coach driver using his Mobile phone.

  9. Comment by Trevor posted on

    Mobile phones are smart enough to know where they are and the speed they are moving. The technology is available to block calls to and from moving vehicles. What about passengers? That's the price we may have to pay?
    That said our lifestyles have changed. We have to be connected. The proviso is 'safely' and texting while driving is not safe.
    Years ago we had CB radios. Even then there were arguments about their use, but on nightshift they kept you alert, helping road safety.
    Mobile phones as with most things, are safe when used correctly we need to define how.
    As for multi tasking, that is the very nature of driving. Some are better at it than others.

  10. Comment by Anon posted on

    That's all well and good, mobile phone offences being one of the most common and dangerous. However, DVSA enforcement can not 'enforce' this. No tickets can be issued, no penalty points attributed. Unless it's the under funded non existent traffic police, it'll all be for nothing.

    Can DVSA be permitted to issue penalty points and a ticket at the roadside?

  11. Comment by W.D posted on

    "our brain is not programmed to do"
    That statement is absolute ! Meaning Vosa, the Police and the rest of the motorway crew should have their licences revoked and manslaughter charges brought, if they are involved in an accident if using hand held communication equipment, "BRAIN NOT PROGRAMMED." There are NO excuses, NO exceptions. Safety must come first.

  12. Comment by Allan James posted on

    I think that is not enough if you are driving and using your phone you should be band from driving for 5 years no matter how old you are points on your lience should be scraped and you must take your driving test again . I'm talking hard there are to many people who still drive after being banned lock them up first and retest them .that's my saying

  13. Comment by Stephen Hicks DVSA-ADI . AMIM . posted on

    Was myself hit at 60mph from behind by a driver reaching into his passenger footwell for his mobile phone while i was stationary at a roundabout in High Wycombe, Berkshire.

    I saw him in my rear view mirror disappear behind his dashboard while still travelling behind me, i had other vehicles in front of me that were waiting their turn to join the roundabout, i had nowhere to go and he was catching up while i was slowing down.

    As i stopped i quickly opened my drivers door to try and escape the imminent impact, my drivers door swung open, i reached to undo my seat belt and at the same time my ears were bursting with a loud noise.

    I woke up on a stretcher being loaded into an ambulance, paramedic was removing chewing gum from inside my mouth, i had been knocked out by the "B" pillar of my car door frame, i was chocking on the gum i had in my mouth and my ankles were broken where i has slid forward out of my drivers seat and into the pedal box area of my own car.

    3 days later i was released from hospital, arriving home to see my car on the driveway, it was the shape of a banana, on closer inspection spare wheel had been buckled in its storage position in the boot of my car, tyre was overlapping both outer rims of the wheel, steering wheel was pushed up against the windscreen and drivers seat had totally collapsed and was laid out flat still bolted to the floor.

    All that just because the guy behind me had dropped his phone and it was more important than me being in front of him travelling at speed.

    I teach people to drive, my pupils as well as my own phone are hidden away during driving lessons, even when my hands free mobile rings within the car and i have a pupil driving it has to wait and go to the answering service, its illegal for me as a passenger teaching to answer it as my attention would be drawn away from my pupil..

    • Replies to Stephen Hicks DVSA-ADI . AMIM .>

      Comment by Mary posted on

      Look at You Tube National Holiday Coach Driver using mobile phone.

  14. Comment by Alan posted on

    ...and what are the authorities (you, DVSA) doing about the tens of thousands of distraction accidents not involving a phone? Once again, you seem to be discriminating in your regulations and the enforcement of such (EG: huge points accruals but licences intact, unwell Glaswegian bin-men and so on).

  15. Comment by col posted on

    I noticed crime stoppers informing the public, to come forward if they
    see any body using their phone whist driving.
    I saw a female driver run up ramps on a waggon repairing the road.
    A metal pole went through the windscreen in to her neck & poked out of the driver's window which was open.
    She still had hold of her mobile which could be heard transmitting.
    I've never seen any one that colour of skin.