Using a mobile phone, sat nav or any similar device whilst driving means that the driver’s attention is distracted from the road.
In the first 11 months of last year 564 people were caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel in Bedfordshire.
- Studies show that drivers using a hands-free or handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards.
- Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash.
It's illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving.
- This includes using your mobile phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
- You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
- If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get three penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100. Points on your licence will result in higher insurance costs.
- If you get just six points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.
- You may use a hands-free phone while driving but you can still be prosecuted if you’re not in proper control of your vehicle. The penalties are same as being caught using a handheld phone.
- The penalties for driving carelessly or dangerously when using a handheld or hands-free phone can include disqualification, a large fine and up to two years imprisonment.
As of 1 March 2017 the penalty for driving whilst using a mobile phone will double to six points and a £200 fine. For drivers with less than two years’ experience that could mean a ban for one offence.
Advice from THINK!
- Switch off before you drive off
- Even if you're using a hands-free phone you should avoid making OR answering calls when driving. All phone calls distract drivers' attention from the road.
- Park safely before using your mobile phone, not on the hard shoulder of the motorway.
- Don't call other people when they're driving. If you call someone and they tell you they are driving, ask them to call you back when they have parked up safely.
For further information and safety advice, go to the Mobile phones: Think website or Gov.UK.