What are the dangers of using a mobile phone whilst driving?

As specialists in Personal Injury claims, we know only too well the dangers of using a mobile phone whilst driving. As well as the legal implications, using a phone when you’re in control of a vehicle can have devastating consequences for you, your passengers and other road users.

What is the law?

It is illegal to use a mobile phone (or sat nav) whilst driving, even if your vehicle is stationary at traffic lights or in a queue of traffic. It is also illegal to use a mobile phone if you are an experienced driver supervising a learner.

Drivers can only use hands-free devices when in control of a vehicle. If you need to send a text or email, check social media, make a call or change a music playlist using a hand held device, you should find somewhere to park with your engine turned off.

What happens if I break the law?

If you are caught using a phone whilst driving, penalties can range from points on your driving licence and a fine, to a complete ban. New drivers with less than two years’ experience risk losing their licence.

The government is calling for a cultural shift towards treating mobile use whilst driving as socially unacceptable as drink driving.

Is using a mobile phone whilst driving really so dangerous?

Yes, definitely. According to the campaign Be Phone Smart, drivers using a phone caused 2,263 crashes from 2013 to 2017 – 33 of which were fatal.

A recent study into the use of mobile phones whilst driving found that distracted drivers had delayed reaction times or even failed to notice hazards. The study also reported ‘tunnel vision’ when multi-tasking, leading drivers to concentrate on the scene straight ahead of them rather than peripheral areas.

How can I resist temptation?

Put your phone away and switch it to silent mode – if it’s out of sight and reach, you won’t be tempted. Better still, turn it off.

Many smart devices now have the option to use a ‘do not disturb’ mode which silences any notifications when you are driving. Apps including ‘LifeSaver’ are also popular for those easily distracted by electronic devices when on the road.

Emsleys Solicitors is a corporate sponsor of SCARD (Support and Care After Road Death and Injury), a charity helping those affected by road accidents. If you need support, SCARD offers a 365 day helpline as well as counselling and practical assistance.

John Hutchings

Written by

John Hutchings

Director & Personal Injury Solicitor

John is a Director and personal injury solicitor with over 17 years’ experience. He specialises in employer’s liability claims and high value cases relating to brain and spinal cord injury and traumatic amputation. He is involved with Headway and is a member of APIL.  John was recommended in The Legal 500...

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