Menu

A Recent Driving Ban Is a Warning to Motorists 'There Is No Excuse' for Using a Mobile Phone Whilst Driving

Official guidance is to avoid any mobile phone interaction while driving, the RAC go so far as to say that your phone should be switched off or put into flight mode when you get into your car.

As you may have seen this week, a Mr David Beckham pleaded guilty to using his mobile phone while behind the wheel of his Bentley in central London on 21 November last year. Due to a previous speeding conviction he already had six points on his licence, with a further six for using his mobile phone he’s now been banned from driving for six months. That’s as well as a £750 fine, £100 in court costs plus a £75 surcharge…walking around money for a man worth roughly £340 million. 

District Judge Catherine Moore said she acknowledged the slow pace of the traffic but told him there was "no excuse" under the law.

Many motorists, especially youngsters, seem to think it’s acceptable to use their phone while driving. Next time you’re in traffic look around you and try to spot the ‘down lookers’ as they use their phones in their lap, barely paying attention to the crawl of their ton of metal as it creeps toward the car in front. While it may seem perfectly acceptable to divert your full attention in traffic, there’s just too much happening around you to take it for granted.

According to Think! the government road safety organisation, drivers who use their phones whether that’s handsfree or held, fail to see road signs, fail to maintain proper lane position or a steady speed, are more likely to tailgate the vehicle in front, react slower, take longer to brake and are more likely to pull into unsafe gaps in traffic.

A Recent Driving Ban Is a Warning to Motorists 'There Is No Excuse' for Using a Mobile Phone Whilst Driving Image 1

When is using a phone when driving illegal?

It’s illegal to hold a mobile phone or a sat-nav while driving or riding a motorcycle. That means if you want to navigate using your phone it must be fixed to your windscreen or dashboard so that it’s in a clear view, but not obstructing your view of the road ahead.

When is using your phone behind the wheel legal?

The law states it’s only legal to use a hand-held device behind the wheel if you’re safely parked and need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency. But this must be in a practical and safe place to stop.

When in traffic or at traffic lights you cannot be using your phone in a hand-held manner.

You can also use your phone behind the wheel hands-free, either using voice commands, a dashboard/windscreen mount or via a Bluetooth headset. These devices must be set up before you start your journey, so you don’t have to touch your device.

The Police still have the power to stop you and prosecute you if they believe you’re driving dangerously due to being distracted even if you’re handsfree.

How many points will I get for using my phone while driving?

Since 2003 it’s been illegal to use your mobile when driving, in 2007 the penalty was three points and a £100 fine.

This wasn’t enough of a deterrence though, so in 2017 the penalty doubled to six points and a £200 fine.

If you’ve passed your test within the last two years and are caught using your mobile, you’ll lose your licence. That’s because new drivers are only allowed six points in the first two years of driving.

A Recent Driving Ban Is a Warning to Motorists 'There Is No Excuse' for Using a Mobile Phone Whilst Driving Image 0

Is it safe to use my phone while driving?

While technology can help drivers safely interact with their phones, the act of just talking on a mobile phone is unsafe, as Think’s research has discovered.

Human brains are pretty simple things when it comes down to it, multitasking isn’t everyone’s forte, few do it well. Talking on the phone makes you concentrate on two ‘thinking’ tasks simultaneously, which our brains aren’t wired to do effectively.

Things get worse when you’re actually looking at any device in your car, whether that’s the sat nav, or changing the radio station. Just looking away for 2 seconds can create a blind spot of 100ft when travelling at only 30 MPH, imagine what you could miss in that distance.

How can I safely use my phone while driving?

Official guidance is to avoid any mobile phone interaction while driving, the RAC go so far as to say that your phone should be switched off or put into flight mode when you get into your car.

Sadly the numbers of offenders being caught has dropped massively over the past 9 years, in 2010 there were 32,548 convictions, yet in 2017 there were just 8,300; of those 86% were men, and more worryingly 21% were under the age of 25.

If you see someone using their phone while driving, report them by calling Crimestoppers – 0800 555 111. You might just save someone’s life.

I hope that he didn't do what an old friend of my father did and drive to court! He was hauled immediately back into court and charged with driving while disqualified and contempt of court. Later in your article you put a negative slant on what is actually a positive story. "<i>Sadly the numbers of offenders being caught has dropped massively over the past 9 years, in 2010 there were 32,548 convictions, yet in 2017 there were just 8,300; of those 86% were men, and more worryingly 21% were under the age of 25.</i>" You could also say that the situation has improved and the number of offences has dropped by 75%. This would tie in with my own anecdotal evidence of the number of people that I see doing this. However, they have changed phone settings which make things more difficult to comply. A while back I could give verbal instructions to set the SatNav route, but Apple in their wisdom have stopped that now, so I have to touch the screen - prior to departing of course...

Watching a number of police programmes recently on tv I note that the police drivers are using shoulder mounted radios whilst driving!! Obviously not distracted!! Must have been trained in multi tasking.

I am sorry, but I don't believe your anecdotal evidence supports this theory (significantly fewer convictions). Personally I would put more weight on a third less traffic officers during that time plus a further six million or so inhabitants in the UK.

I appreciate the concept of turning off your phone when driving, the RAC have a contracted job and are unlikely to miss a call or two as they can catch up later. Consider my circumstances and that of many other zero hour contractors, if I fail to have my phone connected a job offer for tomorrow or next week will be passed to the next person on the contractors list, I, due to my skillset, am required to travel up to 4 hours twice a week and 2 hours every other day, other contractors are worse off than me. So when the RAC who probably are the upper echelons and salaried and chauffered around while relaxing in the back feet up and on the phone are quite finished telling me how to bankrupt myself can they give me a call, I will be on Bluetooth of course and will keep it short and find a stopping place to discuss as I always do. It would be easier if the plonkers that keep ringing me to ask about my imaginary accident did not actually increase the chance of it happening. Word of advice to David Beckham, get one of the children to set up the Bluetooth, obviously it is beyond him.