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THINK! Put your phone away while driving

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

A mobile phone with two competing images - one of a football game and another of traffic.

Back in March, we told you about a THINK! campaign highlighting new penalties for drivers caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving.

You’ve probably seen or heard some of the campaign adverts since our last blog. If you haven’t, there’s a simple message for all drivers – put your phone away while driving and avoid the temptation of making a call or answering a text.

Over the past few months, the campaign has focused on you: professional drivers and employers of professional drivers.

THINK! have produced a leaflet specifically for drivers and employers. It gives advice on:

  • the changes in the law
  • what penalties drivers and operators can face, including from the traffic commissioners
  • the dangers of using a phone while driving
  • what drivers and employers should do to minimise the risks

Driver conduct

As a professional driver, you are responsible for maintaining a high standard of driving.

Using a handheld mobile phone while driving presents an unacceptable risk to road safety. As a vocational licence holder, you should know these risks and your conduct and behaviour at the wheel should remain professional at all times. Not just when driving a commercial vehicle, but also when driving your own vehicle.

If your conduct falls short of the required standards, a Traffic Commissioner can take action against your vocational licence. For mobile phone offences, this is likely to mean a suspension from driving lorries, buses or coaches.

If you’re caught using a handheld mobile phone in a commercial vehicle, it’s a minimum four-week suspension which could affect your livelihood. And, the action taken by traffic commissioners is in addition to any fine and penalty points you’ll receive.

Employer responsibilities

As an employer, you should set clear policies on mobile phone use. You should also educate drivers about the dangers and risks of using a phone while driving. The people who are responsible for managing your drivers should be encouraging a compliant culture. Their driving behaviour should be an example to others.

Operators can face action against their licences from a traffic commissioner if one of their drivers is caught using a handheld device behind the wheel to speak to the office or a customer.

Drivers should be able to tell their employer if they’re under any pressure to use a phone while driving – whether that comes from customers or managers.

Ultimately, you can’t concentrate on the road and use your mobile phone at the same time.

So, please THINK! and put your phone away while driving.

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  1. Comment by Colin Rowe posted on

    Let us get this straight once and for all. It is ludicrous that it is legal to use a mobile phone that is hands free when driving. It is the cognitive effect of carrying on a conversation with somebody who is remote from your vehicle and can`t see what is going on in front of the vehicle. The conversation is a major distraction in itself. Despite popular opinion human beings are not multi-taskers.There is only way that is to pull over when it is safe to do so in order to take and make calls. The installation of "bluetooth" and other connective devices should be an illegal fitment to cars.

  2. Comment by Trevor posted on

    I have passed the information on to Samsung. Hopefully they may have some ideas?

  3. Comment by M.W.Jones posted on

  4. Comment by steven green posted on

    Whilst in part agreeing with the none use of hand held phones when driving people go on about hands free use or not, all modern vehicles large and small have in the main fitted under construction and use hands free systems also under certain circumstances you can use a hand held phone when driving, these instances should be made public also we are continually told by the powers that be to go onto this website or ring this number for more info,these instructions are given by those who will punish use for doing just that, make your minds up.

  5. Comment by sharon white posted on

    I think it should be longer because I have seen loads of in their cars using their phones whilst driving do people not listen what is going through their heads

  6. Comment by Tony Daly posted on

    Give the police the power to stamp on the phone. Given a choice i am sure most my phones my life freaks would chose crush the car.
    Family killers are what they become.

  7. Comment by Darren posted on

    hands free all the way
    and for those who say it's just as bad, what about talking to passengers ?
    what about listening to radio?
    what about CB radio ?
    I can't see how a total ban i.e hands free kits can be done.

    • Replies to Darren>

      Comment by Mike posted on

      Talking to a passenger does not take the same level of concentration as using a mobile. If you see an oncoming hazard when talking to a passenger, you can break of the conversation and the passenger is aware of the hazard. When using a mobile, it takes far more concentration to maintain the same level of focus, using up your limit short term memory. The upshot is, that if you are using your phone, playing with your sat nav, or anything that requires a minimal level of concentration, your reaction time is effected, and you, and those around you are at an increased risk of an accident, this applies to both hand held and hands free, but holding the phone just increases the risk. Those who are caught using their phone, I believe should be made to sit through an Road Traffic Accident investigation video caused by phone use, and then speak to the family and loved ones of those lost as a consequence. Rant over...

  8. Comment by DON ROBERTSON posted on

    young females seem to be the worst offenders lots of texting going on and not looking at the road at all

  9. Comment by Chris R posted on

    I do a lot of miles driving every day and in my experience its people SPEEDING that causes the problems along with lack of ability and awareness. Not so much people on mobile phones. We need harder driving tests/re-tests for everyone and each persons driving should be TRACKED so their insurance premium reflects their driving. People will definitely drive better when it hits their pocket.

    Penalty for speeding: £100 fine and 3 penalty points added to your licence.

    Penalty for using a phone: £200 fine and 6 penalty points added to your licence.

    Sorry, but in my personal experience and opinion, mobile phone use is not TWICE as bad as speeding.

  10. Comment by Trevor posted on

    May be best to make hands free kits compulsory?

    • Replies to Trevor>

      Comment by Chris posted on

      No, the evidence shows that talking hands free is as dangerous as talking hand held, see ""

      Astonishing that hands-free was made legal!

      • Replies to Chris>

        Comment by Trevor posted on

        I think this ground has been covered previously? It is probably possible to block signals in moving vehicles? Then someone throws in 'What about the passengers?' The obvious answer is if disabling all phones in moving vehicles saves lives then - tough. We know the likelihood of enforcing the law is low, especially in the dark. Given this, the pertinent question is 'can hands free save lives?' It may not be a perfect solution, but it may be the best at the moment?

  11. Comment by Chris R posted on

    More visible policing, a law is only effective is it is policed sufficiently and then it will act as a deterrent. The likely hood of being caught is so slim that many see it as a risk worth taking.

    • Replies to Chris R>

      Comment by Trevor posted on

      The report and information from Brake are interesting. Publication of the full article would be helpful.
      The difficulty is maintaining contact with drivers when it is beneficial to safety e.g. road condition or hazard warnings. Many people find it difficult to ignore their phone, the solution may be technological rather than legislative?

  12. Comment by William Parker posted on

    I don't think this penalty goes far enough.With drink and drug driving you can be banned for 12 months.
    I think driving whilst on the phone is even worse.Lets have a outright ban once caught.

  13. Comment by Don Lella posted on

    Tell that to all the foreign drivers, their always on the phone. And 90% don't have handsfree. In my view their the biggest culprits, it's worse when the world cup is on tv they put the laptop on top of the dashboard and watch the match while driving.

  14. Comment by Bill Reeves posted on

    Despite all the publicity there is still an unacceptable number of drivers generally still flouting the law.