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Resist phone temptation at the wheel to avoid £200 fine

 Published 25th May 2023
Driver Guides  General Guides 

Sometimes when you look around, you wonder whether drivers are aware that they shouldn't be using their mobile phone while driving. Or, at the very least, they just blithely ignore the fact.

But using a hand-held phone while driving is an offence which is punishable by a £200 fine and six penalty points.

Rather more importantly, the distraction of using a mobile phone while driving can have serious consequences.

“Drivers really should focus fully on the road, and avoid using their mobile phone behind the wheel,” adds Rob Marshall, Operations Director of Gateway2Lease.

“Not only are there safety implications about being distracted by looking at screens and pressing small buttons, but there are financial implications too, and the penalty points could easily impact the ability of drivers to work. So it's crucial that fleets have a clear policy on the use of mobile phones while driving.”

Hands-free phone use is allowed, but drivers can be penalised for dealing, talking, texting, or browsing on their phone during trips, when controlled directly by their hand.

The latest government figures - for 2021 - show that 1% of drivers were observed using a hand-held mobile while driving, and that van drivers were the worst group of offenders at 1.9% - car drivers come in at 0.8%. Males aged between 17 and 29 were most likely to be seen using a phone at the wheel.

Key tips for the use of mobile phones and cars

Road safety and recovery business GEM Motoring Assist has provided these handy tips on mobile phone use.

  • You're allowed to use a mobile phone when you are safely parked, with the engine off and the handbrake on.

  • Do not pick up your phone in any other driving situation, including when you're stationary at traffic lights or queueing in traffic.

  • The only exception to this is if it's an emergency and it would be unsafe or impractical to stop, in which case you may call 999.

  • Don't assume that using a hands-free kit means you are protected. You are still allowing yourself to be distracted from the task of safe driving, and you could still be prosecuted for not being in control (an offence that carries a £100 fine and three penalty points).

  • Take a few minutes before a journey to make important calls or to check voice messages and emails. Work together with friends, family, colleagues and work contacts to remove the expectation that we should all be available, all the time.

  • Plan journeys to build in breaks from driving, where you can call, text or email or interact with social media in a safe environment.

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